Title: The design and evaluation of a multi-sensory vibrotactile feedback system for a myoelectric prosthetic hand

Authors: Edward D. Sellers; Alan W.L. Chiu

Addresses: Biomedical Engineering, Louisiana Tech University, 818 Nelson Ave, Room 152, Ruston, LA, 71270, USA. ' Biomedical Engineering, Louisiana Tech University, 818 Nelson Ave, Room 152, Ruston, LA, 71270, USA

Abstract: Upper-limb amputees have reported that one of their main dissatisfactions with current commercialised prosthetic arms is a lack of sensory feedback. The current study investigates the feasibility of providing feedback of grip force, slippage, and finger position through vibrotactile stimulators to the prosthetic users. Tests are performed to determine subject|s spatial sensitivity as well as their abilities to differentiate discrete vibration intensity levels. We find that human subjects can correctly identify discrete sensory levels (with 90% accuracy) from 62 Hz to 250 Hz for tactors placed at least 3 cm apart. The accuracy of the EMG classifier system would decrease if all three tactors are activated. Even though a multivariable vibrotactile feedback system may not be feasible initially due to information overload, the user performance may improve with training. Multi-tactor system can be implemented with a slight decrease in electromyographic signal classification for the control of a neuroprosthetic hand.

Keywords: vibrotactile motors; sensory feedback; stimulation; prosthesis; spatial sensitivity; electromyography; biomedical engineering; myoelectric prosthetic hands; grip force; slippage; finger position; neuroprosthetic hands; neuroprosthetic control; biomechatronics.

DOI: 10.1504/IJBBR.2011.043750

International Journal of Biomechatronics and Biomedical Robotics, 2011 Vol.1 No.4, pp.225 - 231

Available online: 15 Nov 2011 *

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