Localization of Tactile Signals as a Function of Tactor Operating Characteristics

Report No. ARL-TR-3971
Authors: Elizabeth S. Redden; Christian B. Carstens; Daniel D. Turner; Linda R. Elliott
Date/Pages: October 2006; 71 pages
Abstract: Throughout experiments investigating the utility of tactile displays, tactors with varying engineering specifications have been used. Some of these tactors may have been more effective than others in terms of the ability of the wearer to localize the position of the individual tactors and to feel the tactile stimulation during dynamic situations. This study compared Soldiers? abilities to localize three different configurations of tactors: an inertial shaker motor and a C-2 vibro-tactile transducer that was set at two different intensities. The correct signal detection and localization rates were fairly high for all three systems during static trials, ranging from 86.1% to 91.8% correct, and there were no significant differences among the three systems in terms of signal detection and localization in this event. The ability to correctly identify tactor location was degraded during the dynamic event, and differences among the three systems emerged. On the individual movement techniques course, tactor localization was best with the higher intensity C-2 vibrotactile transducer (78.7%) and worst with the inertial shaker motor (48.8%). Localization was best when the Soldier was moving upright or in a kneeling firing position, and localization was degraded when the Soldier?s torso was in contact with the ground or when he was climbing an obstacle. Differences were also found in localization rates at different positions around the waist. Tactor location detections were highest at the front of the body and lowest at the sides.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: October 1, 2006