experiments in vibrotactile and haptic feedback: solenoids and vibrating motors

Kinetic vibrotactile feedback that utilize active touch

With the understanding that the tactile modality can be utilized to interpret data, including different types of data sets, there arises various possibilities with respect to how it can be utilized. Based on research, and experimentation, it appears that one potentially effective means of interpreting and controlling data is through the use of patterns, specifically undulating patterns, that are kinetic rather than static and that incorporate active rather than passive touch.

While research and experimentation indicates that patterns are an effective means for interpreting data, pattern that is static is somewhat limited in that it can only transmit the singular set of data it represents (similar to a book or braille). Pattern that is kinetic however has the ability to transmit a flow of data or data that is constantly changing (similar to a television reflecting the NYSE or a streaming video reflecting outputs in a manufacturing plant).

Because kinetic pattern has a potential to transmit changing or evolving data, I undertook two experiments designed in part to determine whether we could readily detect pattern that is kinetic. In these experiments vibrating motors and solenoids were placed in 3D printed housings to reflect distinct rhythmic patterns, People used touch through the fingertips, hands and arms to feel the the different patterns. There was a potentiometer to allow for change of speed. As well as a touch (light) sensor that allowed for different patterns to be felt.

People reported that they were more able to detect pattern (and changes in pattern) when the point of touch was small and more distinct. Subjects also reported that the utilization of different materials enabled them to detect changes in pattern more readily. Thus, these experiments showed that we are able to detect kinetic pattern, and changes in kinetic patterns. They also provided useful insight as to how to more readily detect such patterns – through the utilization of small, distinct touch or sensor points and through the utilization of different materials at some of the points.

Experiment 2 solenoids

Experiment 1 mini vibrating motors

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