Tactile Roughness Perception of Virtual Gratings by Electrovibration

Realistic display of tactile textures on touch screens is a big step forward for haptic technology to reach a wide range of consumers utilizing electronic devices on a daily basis. Since the texture topography cannot be rendered explicitly by electrovibration on touch screens, it is important to understand how we perceive the virtual textures displayed by friction modulation via electrovibration. We investigated the roughness perception of real gratings made of plexiglass and virtual gratings displayed by electrovibration through a touch screen for comparison. In particular, we conducted two psychophysical experiments with 10 participants to investigate the effect of spatial period and the normal force applied by finger on roughness perception of real and virtual gratings in macro size. We also recorded the contact forces acting on the participants' finger during the experiments. The results showed that the roughness perception of real and virtual gratings are different. We argue that this difference can be explained by the amount of fingerpad penetration into the gratings. For real gratings, penetration increased tangential forces acting on the finger, whereas for virtual ones where skin penetration is absent, tangential forces decreased with spatial period. Supporting our claim, we also found that increasing normal force increases the perceived roughness of real gratings while it causes an opposite effect for the virtual gratings. These results are consistent with the tangential force profiles recorded for both real and virtual gratings. In particular, the rate of change in tangential force (dFt/dt) as a function of spatial period and normal force followed trends similar to those obtained for the roughness estimates of real and virtual gratings, suggesting that it is a better indicator of the perceived roughness than the tangential force magnitude.

  • Aykut Isleyen, Yasemin Vardar, and Cagatay Basdogan. Tactile Roughness Perception of Virtual Gratings by Electrovibration. IEEE Transactions on Haptics, 2019

In this study, we have investigated the human roughness perception of periodical textures on an electrostatic display by conducting psychophysical experiments with 10 subjects. To generate virtual textures, we used low frequency unipolar pulse waves in different waveform (sinusoidal, square, saw-tooth, triangle), and spacing. We modulated these waves with a 3kHz high frequency sinusoidal carrier signal to minimize perceptional differences due to the electrical filtering of human finger and eliminate low-frequency distortions. The subjects were asked to rate 40 different macro textures on a Likert scale of 1-7. We also collected the normal and tangential forces acting on the fingers of subjects during the experiment. The results of our user study showed that subjects perceived the square wave as the roughest while they perceived the other waveforms equally rough. The perceived roughness followed an inverted U-shaped curve as a function of groove width, but the peak point shifted to the left compared to the results of the earlier studies. Moreover, we found that the roughness perception of subjects is best correlated with the rate of change of the contact forces rather than themselves.

  • Yasemin Vardar, Aykut Isleyen, Khurram M. Saleem, and Cagatay Basdogan. Roughness perception of virtual textures generated via electrovibration on touchscreens. In Proceedings of the IEEE World Haptics Conference (WHC), pages: 263-268, Munich, June 2017