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Haptic cues may be able to assist an individual who is engaged in a manual control task, freeing visual and auditory attention for other mental tasks. We describe an experiment in which subjects attempted to step at a consistent pace on a stair climber exercise machine which was modified for haptic cuing through the legs. Subjects' visual attention was engaged by a video game. Five different haptic cues for consistent pacing were investigated, two of them more kinesthetic in nature and three that were more tactile. Results showed that haptic cues could indeed improve the manual control task performance without diminishing the visual attention task performance. The tactile cues generally outperformed the kinesthetic ones.
Date of Publication: Oct.-Dec. 2009