Fingertip friction modulation due to electrostatic attraction

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

122 Scopus citations


The human fingertip is extremely sensitive to lateral (shear) forces that arise in surface exploration. We and others have developed haptic displays that work by modulating surface friction via electrostatic attraction. Despite the demonstrated ability of these displays to render haptic environments, an understanding of the fingertip-surface interface is lacking. We have developed a tribometer for measuring the lateral frictional forces on a fingertip under well-controlled conditions. We show an expected square law dependence of frictional force (and inferred electrostatic normal force) on actuation voltage, although we observe a large person to person variability. We model an expected dependence of the frictional force on the frequency of the actuation voltage, predicting a first order cut off below about 500Hz. However, our measurements are unambiguously at odds with the model's predictions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2013 World Haptics Conference, WHC 2013
Number of pages6
StatePublished - 2013
Event2013 IEEE World Haptics Conference, WHC 2013 - Daejeon, Korea, Republic of
Duration: Apr 14 2013Apr 17 2013

Publication series

Name2013 World Haptics Conference, WHC 2013


Other2013 IEEE World Haptics Conference, WHC 2013
Country/TerritoryKorea, Republic of


  • Haptic rendering
  • Tactile devices and display
  • Texture rendering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Software


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