RESEARCH ARTICLE

Validation of a Vibrotactile Stimulation System Using the Wii Remote for Studies of Tactile Sensitivity

The Open Psychology Journal 27 July 2017 RESEARCH ARTICLE DOI: 10.2174/1874350101710010118

Abstract

Background:

Vibrotactile stimuli are widely used to study the functional characteristics of the haptic sense. Although many vibrotactile stimulators are commercially available, most are expensive.

Objective:

We developed a low-cost vibrotactile stimulation system using a Nintendo Wii Remote and a personal computer. In the present study, we examined the validity and accuracy of this vibrotactile stimulation system.

Method:

In the first experiment, we measured the linearity of vibration amplitude and changes in peak vibration frequency generated by the Wii Remote as a function of activation intensity. In the second experiment, the effect of vibrotactile stimuli applied to the dorsal surface of hand on two-point discrimination threshold at the index finger was examined in twelve participants.

Results:

The peak vibration frequency was about 150 Hz irrespective of vibration intensity, which would effectively activate fast adapting type II (FAII) cutaneous mechanical receptors. The two-point discrimination threshold measured at the third pad of the index finger decreased significantly when a near-threshold vibrotactile stimulus was applied to the dorsal hand, a response termed stochastic resonance (SR). These SR results are consistent with findings in the other sensory systems, such as auditory, visual, and somatosensory systems.

Conclusion:

This newly developed stimulation system produces controllable vibrotactile stimuli useful for study of the haptic sense.

Keywords: Vibrotactile noise, Touch sense, Tactile sensation, Cutaneous mechanical receptors, Two-point discrimination threshold, Somatosensory, Stochastic resonance, Humans.
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