RESEARCH ARTICLE


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



Eri Sugimoto, Hitoshi Sasaki*
Vocational College of Osaka Judo Therapist Association, Osaka, 550-0004, Japan


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© 2017 Sugimoto and Sasaki.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode). This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Vocation College of Osaka Judo Therapist Association 3-10-3 Utsubohommachi, Nishi-ku, Osaka 550-0004, Japan, Tel: +81 6 6444 4171; E-mail: H.Sasaki@Physiol.com


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.