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Technical Briefs

Characterization of Tactors Used in Vibrotactile Displays

[+] Author and Article Information
Lynette A. Jones1

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139ljones@mit.edu

David A. Held

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139

1

Corresponding author.

J. Comput. Inf. Sci. Eng 8(4), 044501 (Nov 07, 2008) (5 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2988384 History: Received September 28, 2007; Revised February 15, 2008; Published November 07, 2008

A series of experiments was conducted to evaluate the operating characteristics of small DC motors that are often in tactile displays. The results indicated that these motors are reliable in terms of their frequency and amplitude of oscillation, but that the frequency varies across motors. A simulated skin material was developed to provide a substrate for evaluating the performance of the motors. There was a marked attenuation in frequency when the tactors were on this material and the surface waves could be detected 60 mm from the site of activation. These findings suggest that the spacing between tactors should be at least 60–80 mm if tactile cues are used to locate events in the environment.

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Copyright © 2008 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figures

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Figure 1

Pancake motor with eccentric mass exposed (left), pancake motor (center), and motor encased in plastic (right)

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Figure 2

Oscillation of encased motor during activation at 3.3 V

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Figure 3

Oscillation frequencies measured for each of the unencased motors. Each line on the x-axis represents a different motor, and each shape on the y-axis shows the frequency of the motor’s oscillation for a single trial. The motors are rank ordered by their mean frequency.

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Figure 4

Oscillation frequencies measured for each of the encased motors. Each line on the x-axis represents a different motor, and each shape on the y-axis shows the frequency of the motor’s oscillation for a single trial. The motors are rank ordered by their mean frequency.

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Figure 5

Peak forces measured for each of the encased motors. Each line on the x-axis represents a different motor and each shape a different trial. The numbering is the same as that in Fig. 4.

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Figure 6

Relation between peak forces produced by a motor and the oscillation frequency for unencased (circles) and encased (triangles) motors. The best-fit equation is also shown.

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Figure 7

Stress-strain curves for five samples of pig skin, and a sample of Skinsim (thick black line)–a silicone rubber fabricated to have similar material properties to skin

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Figure 8

Mean oscillation frequency (ten trials) of tactors mounted on the impedance head (rigid surface) and Skinsim (compliant surface). The least-squares regression line is shown together with the equation.

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Figure 9

Acceleration produced by each of the two motors as a function of input voltage

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Figure 10

Amplitude of the surface wave on the Skinsim at various distances from the activated motor for three encased motors

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