Detection and Localization of Vibrotactile Signals in Moving Vehicles

Report No. ARL-TR-4463
Authors: Andrea S. Krausman and Timothy L. White
Date/Pages: May 2008; 55 pages
Abstract: The focus of this research was to examine how well participants could detect and localize tactile signals while riding in moving vehicles. A ride motion simulator (RMS) was used to simulate a Bradley fighting vehicle or high mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicle traversing a cross-country course or gravel road. Two tactile display systems were used to provide signals. The wireless tactile control unit (WTCU) employed a vibrating motor similar to that of a cell phone or pager, and the Tactile Communications System (TACTICS) employed a plunger motor, which creates a tapping sensation. The signal strength of the TACTICS was driven at the optimal operating characteristics (TACTICS 1) or at operating characteristics similar to those of the WTCU system (TACTICS 2). For each system, eight tactors were positioned at 45-degree intervals (cardinal compass points) in two adjustable belts (plunger motor belt and pancake motor belt) worn around each participant's waist. Participants received tactile signals during a baseline (stationary) condition and while moving on the RMS. Results show that the TACTICS 1 performed consistently across all conditions, which may be because of the stronger, more distinct tactile signal generated by the TACTICS 1. Detection of tactile signals was affected by terrain, with fewer signals detected on the crosscountry terrain. Additionally, the south tactor was detected less frequently than the other locations when participants were moving over the cross-country terrain.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: May 1, 2008