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Examination of Tactor Configurations for the Design of Vibrotactile Feedback Systems for Use in Lower-Limb Prostheses

[+] Author Affiliations
Sam Shi

University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada

Matthew J. Leineweber

San Jose State University, San Jose, CA

Jan Andrysek

Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, Toronto, ON, Canada

Paper No. DETC2018-85197, pp. V008T10A006; 9 pages
  • ASME 2018 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 8: 30th Conference on Mechanical Vibration and Noise
  • Quebec City, Quebec, Canada, August 26–29, 2018
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division, Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5185-2
  • Copyright © 2018 by ASME


Vibrotactile feedback may be able to compensate for the loss of sensory input in lower-limb prosthesis users. Designing an effective vibrotactile feedback system would require that users could perceive and correctly respond to vibrotactile stimuli applied by the tactors. Our study explored three key tactor configuration variables (i.e. vibratory intensity, prosthetic pressure, spacing between adjacent tactors) through two experiments. The vibration propagation experiment investigated the effects of tactor configurations on vibratory amplitude at the prosthesis-limb interface. Results revealed a positive relationship between vibratory amplitude and intensity, and a negative relationship between vibratory amplitude and prosthetic pressure. The vibrotactile perception experiment investigated the effects of tactor configurations on user response accuracy, and found that greater spacing between tactors, and higher prosthetic pressure resulted in more accurate responses from the subjects. These findings inform the design of a vibrotactile feedback system for use in lower-limb prostheses: 1) the tactors may be best placed in areas of slightly elevated pressure at the prosthesis-limb interface; 2) a higher vibratory intensity level should improve performance for vibrotactile feedback systems; and 3) more spacing between adjacent tactors improves user response accuracy.

Copyright © 2018 by ASME
Topics: Design , Prostheses , Feedback



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