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Electrotactile and vibrotactile displays for sensory substitution systems

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4 Author(s)
Kaczmarek, K.A. ; Dept. of Electr. Eng., Wisconsin Univ., Madison, WI, USA ; Webster, J.G. ; Bach-y-Rita, Paul ; Tompkins, Willis J.

Sensory substitution systems provide their users with environmental information through a human sensory channel (eye, ear, or skin) different from that normally used or with the information processed in some useful way. The authors review the methods used to present visual, auditory, and modified tactile information to the skin and discuss present and potential future applications of sensory substitution, including tactile vision substitution (TVS), tactile auditory substitution, and remote tactile sensing or feedback (teletouch). The relevant sensory physiology of the skin, including the mechanisms of normal touch and the mechanisms and sensations associated with electrical stimulation of the skin using surface electrodes (electrotactile, or electrocutaneous, stimulation), is reviewed. The information-processing ability of the tactile sense and its relevance to sensory substitution is briefly summarized. The limitations of current tactile display technologies are discussed, and areas requiring further research for sensory substitution systems to become more practical are suggested.

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Biomedical Engineering, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:38 ,  Issue: 1 )