Enhancing Haptic Detection of Surface Undulation

Ryo Kikuuwe, Akihito Sano, Hiromi Mochiyama, Naoyuki Takesue, Hideo Fujimoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


This paper introduces a device for enhancing detection of surface undulation through active touch. This device, which we call a “tactile contact lens,” is composed of a sheet and numerous pins arranged on one side of the sheet. Experimental results show that a small bump on a surface can be detected more accurately through this device than by bare finger and than through a flat sheet. A mathematical analysis of this phenomenon suggests two possible explanations for this phenomenon. One lies in the lever-like behavior of the pins. The pins convert the local inclination of the object surface into the tangential displacement of the skin surface. The second is the spatial aliasing effect resulting from the discrete contact. Due to this effect, the temporal change in the skin surface displacement is efficiently transduced into the temporal change in the skin tissue strain. The results of this analysis are then discussed in relation to other sensitivity-enhancing materials, tactile sensing mechanisms, and tactile/haptic display devices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)46-67
Number of pages22
JournalACM Transactions on Applied Perception
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Computer Science(all)
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology


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