Continuous Transition Impairs Discrimination of Electrotactile Frequencies

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Just-noticeable difference (JND), indicating the ability to accurately identify small differences in stimulation parameters, can be used to choose more sensitive stimulation methods as well as to calibrate tactile feedback in closed-loop human-machine interfacing. The JND is typically estimated using a forced-choice-discrimination task, in which two stimuli with different intensities are delivered separated by a brief pause. In the applications of tactile feedback, however, the stimulation parameters are typically modulated continuously. It is unclear if the discriminability of stimuli separated in time characterizes the ability to distinguish continuous changes in stimulation intensity. The present study compared the JND when pairs of frequency-modulated electrotactile stimuli were separated in time and presented continuously at two different baseline frequencies (20 and 60 Hz). The results showed that the JND was significantly smaller with time-separation between stimuli, but that the JND obtained with different types of transitions were in most cases linearly associated. In conclusion, the discriminability of time-separated stimuli is systematically better compared to that of the stimuli presented continuously. This can have an impact when calibrating the tactile feedback where the conventional method of the JND assessment might lead to an overly optimistic estimate of detectable changes.
TidsskriftIEEE Transactions on Haptics
Udgave nummer4
Sider (fra-til)753-758
Antal sider6
StatusUdgivet - 1 okt. 2022


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