Dual-parameter modulation improves stimulus localization in multichannel electrotactile stimulation

Lucia Seminara, Hoda Fares, Marta Franceschi, Maurizio Valle, Matjia Strbac, Dario Farina, Strahinja Dosen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
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Among most challenging open issues in prosthetic research is the development of a robust bidirectional interface between a prosthesis and its user. Commercially available prosthetic systems are mechanically advanced, but they do not provide somatosensory feedback. Here, we present a novel non-invasive interface for multichannel electrotactile feedback, comprising a matrix of 24 pads, and we investigate the ability of able-bodied human subjects to localize the electrotactile stimulus delivered through the matrix. For this purpose, we tested conventional stimulation (same frequency for all pads) and a novel dual-parameter modulation scheme (interleaved frequency and intensity) designed to facilitate the spatial localization over the electrode. Electrotactile stimulation was also compared to mechanical stimulation of the same locations on the skin. Experimental results on eight able-bodied subjects demonstrated that the proposed interleaved coding substantially improved the spatial localization compared to same-frequency stimulation. The results also showed that same-frequency stimulation was equivalent to mechanical stimulation, whereas the performance with dual-parameter modulation was significantly better. These are encouraging outcomes for the application of a multichannel interface for the restoration of feedback in prosthetics. The high-resolution augmented interfaces might be used to explore novel scenarios for effective communication with the prosthesis user enabled by maximizing information transmission.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8888238
JournalIEEE Transactions on Haptics
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)393-403
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020


  • Electrotactile stimulation
  • matrix electrodes
  • mechanical stimulation
  • sensory feedback
  • spatial localization


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