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Fingertip Friction Enhances Perception of Normal Force Changes




Using a force-controlled robotic platform, we tested the human perception of positive and negative modulations in normal force during passive dynamic touch, which also induced a strong related change in the finger-surface lateral force. In a two-alternative forced-choice task, eleven participants had to detect brief variations in the normal force compared to a constant controlled pre-stimulation force of 1 N and report whether it had increased or decreased. The average 75% just noticeable difference (JND) was found to be around 0.25 N for detecting the peak change and 0.30 N for correctly reporting the increase or the decrease. Interestingly, the friction coefficient of a subject’s fingertip positively correlated with his or her performance at detecting the change and reporting its direction, which suggests that humans may use the lateral force as a sensory cue to perceive variations in the normal force.

Author(s): David Gueorguiev and Julien Lambert and Jean-Louis Thonnard and Katherine J. Kuchenbecker
Year: 2019
Month: July

Department(s): Haptic Intelligence
Bibtex Type: Miscellaneous (misc)
Paper Type: Conference

Address: Tokyo, Japan
How Published: Work-in-progress paper (2 pages) presented at the IEEE World Haptics Conference (WHC)


  title = {Fingertip Friction Enhances Perception of Normal Force Changes},
  author = {Gueorguiev, David and Lambert, Julien and Thonnard, Jean-Louis and Kuchenbecker, Katherine J.},
  howpublished = {Work-in-progress paper (2 pages) presented at the IEEE World Haptics Conference (WHC)},
  address = {Tokyo, Japan},
  month = jul,
  year = {2019},
  month_numeric = {7}