Comparison of Wide-Band Vibrotactile and Friction Modulation Surface Gratings

Roman V. Grigorii*, Yifei Li, Michael A. Peshkin, J. Edward Colgate

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article seeks to understand conditions under which virtual gratings produced via vibrotaction and friction modulation are perceived as similar and to find physical origins in the results. To accomplish this, we developed two single-axis devices, one based on electroadhesion and one based on out-of-plane vibration. The two devices had identical touch surfaces, and the vibrotactile device used a novel closed-loop controller to achieve precise control of out-of-plane plate displacement under varying load conditions across a wide ranget of frequencies. A first study measured the perceptual intensity equivalence curve of gratings generated under electroadhesion and vibrotaction across the 20-400 Hz frequency range. A second study assessed the perceptual similarity between two forms of skin excitation given the same driving frequency and same perceived intensity. Our results indicate that it is largely the out-of-plane velocity that predicts vibrotactile intensity relative to shear forces generated by friction modulation. A high degree of perceptual similarity between gratings generated through friction modulation and through vibrotaction is apparent and tends to scale with actuation frequency suggesting perceptual indifference to the manner of fingerpad actuation in the upper frequency range.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)792-803
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Transactions on Haptics
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2021


  • closed loop control
  • electroadhesion
  • surface haptics
  • tactile gratings
  • vibrotaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Science Applications


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