Archive for category Tactile & Multimodal displays

HFES 2015

At the HFES Annual meeting we presented two studies related to interfaces for dismounted soldiers.

Tactile Interfaces for Dismounted Soldiers: User-perceptions on Content, Context and Loci
Nuphar Katzman, Tal Oron-Gilad, and Yael Salzer
Reviews of Human Factors and Ergonomics. 2015; 59:421-425.  [Abstract] [PDF]

Interfaces for dismounted soldiers: examination of non-perfect visual and tactile alerts in a simulated hostile urban environment
Tal Oron-Gilad, Yisrael Parmet, and Daniel Benor
Reviews of Human Factors and Ergonomics. 2015; 59:145-149.  [Abstract] [PDF]

, , , ,

Leave a comment

In Touch With the Simon Effect

Salzer, Y., Aisenberg, D., Oron-Gilad, T., & Henik, A. (2013, October 24). In Touch With the Simon Effect. Experimental Psychology. Advance online publication. doi:10.1027/1618-3169/a000236

Abstract:  Cognitive control has been extensively studied using the auditory and visual modalities. In the current study, a tactile version of the Simon task was created in order to test control mechanisms in a modality that was less studied, to provide comparative and new information. A significant Simon effect – reaction time gap between congruent (i.e., stimulus and response in the same relative location) and incongruent (i.e., stimulus and response in opposite locations) stimuli – provided grounds to further examine both general and tactile-specific aspects of cognitive control in three experiments. By implementing a neutral condition and conducting sequential and distributional analysis, the present study: (a) supports two different independent mechanisms of cognitive control – reactive control and proactive control; (b) reveals facilitation and interference within the tactile Simon effect; and (c) proposes modality differences in activation and processing of the spatially driven
stimulus-response association.

Method: Four experiments of tactile Simon task, preceded by an alerting signal (AS) in visual, auditory and two architectures of tactile.


Two types of tactile signals were developed for this task. All stimuli were displayed on the participant’s back.


Two type of “Neutral” tactile alerting signals were used

, , ,

Leave a comment

VibroTactile “On-Thigh” Alerting System in The Cockpit

Here is a new study that we have conducted on applying vibrotactile alerts on the thigh of a seated operator. The thigh is a novel placement that has not been used previously in a similar way.

figure 1clip_image002

To read more see: Salzer, Y., Oron-Gilad, T., Ronen, A., and Parmet, Y. (2011), VibroTactile “On-Thigh” Alerting System in The Cockpit, Human Factors. available online at :

Background: Alerts in the cockpit must be robust, difficult to ignore and easily recognized. Tactile alerts can provide means to direct the pilot’s attention in the already visual-auditory overloaded cockpit environment. Objective: This research examined the thigh as a placement for vibrotactile display in the cockpit. Here we: a) report initial findings concerning the loci and properties of the display, b) evaluate the added value of tactile cueing with respect to the existing audio-visual alerting system, and c) address the issue of tactile orienting; whether the cue should display ‘flight’ or ‘fight’ orienting. The tactor display prototype was developed by a joint venture of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), Lahav division and the Ben Gurion University of the Negev (patent pending 11/968,405). Methods: Vibrotactile display mounted on the thigh provided directional cues in the vertical plane. Two vibrotactile display modes (eight and four tactors) and two response modes (compatible, i.e. flight (away from hazard) and inverse, i.e. fight (toward hazard)) were evaluated. Results: Vertical directional orienting can be achieved by a vibrotactile display assembled on the thigh. Four tactors display mode and the compatible response mode produced more accurate results. Conclusion: Tactile cues can provide directional orienting in the vertical plane. The benefit of adding compatible tactile cues with the visual and auditory cues alone has yet to be reinforced. Nevertheless, flight mode, i.e. directing towards escape from hazardous situations, was preferred. Application: Potential applications include providing directional collision alerts within the vertical plane, assisting pilot’s elevation control, or navigation.

Leave a comment

The Thermoelectric Tactile Display (TTD)

  • The Thermal Grill Illusion was first described by Thunberg (1894) and later replicated by others (Craig & Bushnell, 1994) as the sensation of paradoxical strong or painful heat elicited by touching interlaced mildly warm and cool stimuli of 20°C and 40°C respectively. Green (2002) has introduced the sensation of non-painful heat elicited by similar grill apparatus of smaller temperature range (warm 35°C-40°C and cold ≥27°C).
  • Our aim is to generate thermal grill illusion (TGI) stimuli for a tactile display. The majority of tactile interfaces used today are based on vibration and pressure. No previous references shows the use of thermal displays as a stand-alone signal source, nor is there evidence of the use of the thermal grill illusion for that purpose.
  • This is the first use of Thermoelectric Coolers (TEC) technology for generating a thermal grill stimuli based display. We have developed a prototype which consists of three thermal actuating units (TAU)  in contact with the glabrous skin of the arm. Direct and separate computer control allows for defining the temperature and the signal duration of each of the TAUs. This architecture enables us to define the optimal characteristic for TGI signals and to explore the possibilities of tactile stimuli within the sub-modality of thermal perception.

The TAU is composed of several components yet its core is the TEC (as shown in the two images below). The TTD consists of three TAUs. In the first prototype of the TTD, each TAU was mounted on a velcro belt. In the New prototype all three TAUs are mounted on a Silicon based casing and thus wearing the display is easier. Various TGI stimuli configurations. Interlacing Hot (H) and Cold (C) Stimuli can generate various combinations.

The TTD was developed with my graduate student Yael Salzer. The second P/T was improved by the work of two wonderful students Or Ben-David and Yossi Falkovitch.

To read more see:

Thermoelectric Tactile Display Based on the Thermal Grill Illusion  EuroHaptics 2008: 343-348

Thermoelectric tactile display based on the thermal grill illusion ECCE 2007: 303-304

Leave a comment

Vibrotactile Guidance Cues for Target Acquisition

This article won the Andrew P. Sage Best Transactions Paper Award for 2007

Oron-Gilad, T.; Downs, J.L.; Gilson, R.D.; Hancock, P.A.; , “Vibrotactile Guidance Cues for Target Acquisition,” Systems, Man, and Cybernetics, Part C: Applications and Reviews, IEEE Transactions on , vol.37, no.5, pp.993-1004, Sept. 2007Abstract

Three experiments examined the use of vibrotactile cues to guide an operator toward a target. Vibrotactile stimulation on the hand can provide spatially stabilizing cues for feedback of subtle changes in position. When such feedback is present, a deviation from the point of origin results in tactile stimulation indicating the direction and magnitude of the positional error. Likewise, spatial deviation from a desired position displayed tactually can provide robust position guidance and stabilization sufficient to improve the acquisition time and accuracy of fine cursor control. A major advantage of this mode of information representation is that it can be present at the same time as visual cues with minimal cross-modal interference. Our findings suggest that performance is actually enhanced when both tactile and visual cues are present. Although previous studies have suggested that various forms of tactile feedback can provide position guidance and stabilization, to our knowledge, this work is the first that details the effect of tactile feedback on target acquisition directly.

Here are some more detail about the experiments and some images:

•Experiment 1  –  focued on where to place the tactors – tactor placements on the palm versus on the back of the hand, while targets appeared to the left and right.

Participant's position and target arena

Tactors placed inside hand

Tactors placed outside hand

•Experiment 2  –  focused on the pattern of the continous tactile cues – effect of continuous relative distance cues (pulse rate of stimulus sweeps-up vs. sweeps-down as the cursor approaches the target) and on-target versus off-target tactile stimuli.
Vibrotactile cueing continuous gradient

Vibrotactile cueing continuous gradient

•Experiment 3  – focused on the effectiveness of the tactile cues, do they facilitate the entire movement of just the initial movement toeard the target and the fine tuning on target – investigate the interaction between the near-target pulse rate and on-target cues and establish if there are performance differences between discrete and continuous distance information for target selection.
Discrete tactile gradient

Discrete tactile gradient

, , , , ,