Stiffness feedback for myoelectric forearm prostheses using vibrotactile stimulation

Heidi J.B. Witteveen, Frauke Luft, Johan S. Rietman, Peter H. Veltink

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)
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The ability to distinguish object stiffness is a very important aspect in object handling, but completely lacking in current myoelectric prostheses. In human hands both tactile and proprioceptive sensory information are required for stiffness determination. Therefore, it was investigated whether it is possible to distinguish object stiffness with vibrotactile feedback of hand opening and grasping force. Three configurations consisting of an array of coin motors and a single miniature vibrotactile transducer were investigated. Ten healthy subjects and seven subjects with upper limb loss due to amputation or congenital defects performed virtual grasping tasks, in which they controlled hand opening and grasping force. They were asked to determine the stiffness of a grasped virtual object from four options.With hand opening feedback alone or in combination with grasping force feedback, correct stiffness determination was achieved in around 60% of the cases and significantly higher than the 25% achieved without feedback or grasping force feedback alone. Despite the equal performance results, the combination of hand opening and grasping force feedback was preferred by the subjects over the hand opening feedback alone. No differences between feedback configurations and between subjects with upper limb loss and healthy subjects were found.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-61
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE transactions on neural systems and rehabilitation engineering
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2014


  • Virtual grasping tasks
  • Patient measurements
  • Myoelectric forearm prostheses
  • Vibrotactile stimulation
  • Stiffness feedback


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