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Physical Variables Underlying Tactile Stickiness during Fingerpad Detachment




One may notice a relatively wide range of tactile sensations even when touching the same hard, flat surface in similar ways. Little is known about the reasons for this variability, so we decided to investigate how the perceptual intensity of light stickiness relates to the physical interaction between the skin and the surface. We conducted a psychophysical experiment in which nine participants actively pressed their finger on a flat glass plate with a normal force close to 1.5 N and detached it after a few seconds. A custom-designed apparatus recorded the contact force vector and the finger contact area during each interaction as well as pre- and post-trial finger moisture. After detaching their finger, participants judged the stickiness of the glass using a nine-point scale. We explored how sixteen physical variables derived from the recorded data correlate with each other and with the stickiness judgments of each participant. These analyses indicate that stickiness perception mainly depends on the pre-detachment pressing duration, the time taken for the finger to detach, and the impulse in the normal direction after the normal force changes sign; finger-surface adhesion seems to build with pressing time, causing a larger normal impulse during detachment and thus a more intense stickiness sensation. We additionally found a strong between-subjects correlation between maximum real contact area and peak pull-off force, as well as between finger moisture and impulse.

Author(s): Saekwang Nam and Yasemin Vardar and David Gueorguiev and Katherine J. Kuchenbecker
Journal: Frontiers in Neuroscience
Volume: 14
Number (issue): 235
Pages: 1--14
Year: 2020
Month: April
Day: 15

Department(s): Haptic Intelligence
Research Project(s): Understanding Fingerpad Moisture and Friction
Bibtex Type: Article (article)
Paper Type: Journal

DOI: 10.3389/fnins.2020.00235
State: Published
URL: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnins.2020.00235/full


  title = {Physical Variables Underlying Tactile Stickiness during Fingerpad Detachment},
  author = {Nam, Saekwang and Vardar, Yasemin and Gueorguiev, David and Kuchenbecker, Katherine J.},
  journal = {Frontiers in Neuroscience},
  volume = {14},
  number = {235},
  pages = {1--14},
  month = apr,
  year = {2020},
  url = {https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnins.2020.00235/full},
  month_numeric = {4}