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A Haptic Force Feedback Device for Virtual Reality-fMRI Experiments

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4 Author(s)
Di Diodato, L.M. ; Sunnybrook Health Sci. Centre, Toronto ; Mraz, R. ; Baker, S.N. ; Graham, S.J.

Simulation of real-world tasks using virtual reality (VR) and measurement of associated neural activity by functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) have potential utility in research and clinical stroke applications. However, development of fMRI-compatible sensory feedback technology is required. Presented here is the development of a prototype force feedback device for VR-fMRI. Experiments validated device performance in terms of force output, interaction bandwidth, transmission delay, and fMRI-compatibility. A subsequent VR-fMRI experiment involved six participants touching a virtual object and verified modulation of brain activity with force feedback versus no force feedback. This device may facilitate further experiments to clarify the effect of haptics in VR, and may be adapted for characterizing brain function and behaviour associated with stroke-related hand paresis.

Published in:

Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:15 ,  Issue: 4 )