Sensory Perception & Interaction Research Group

University of British Columbia

Sensitivity to Vibrations Across the Body in Mobile Contexts


We explored the potential and limitations of vibrotactile displays in practical wearable applications, by comparing users’ detection rate and response time to stimuli applied across the body in varied conditions. We examined which body locations are more sensitive to vibrations and more affected by movement; whether visual workload, expectation of location, or gender impact performance; and if users have subjective preferences to any of these conditions. In two experiments we compared these factors using five vibration intensities on up to 13 body locations. Our contributions are comparisons of tactile detection performance under conditions typifying mobile use, an experiment design that supports further investigation in vibrotactile communication, and guidelines for optimal display location given intended use.

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