Haptic interaction with virtual objects: Spatial perception and motor control

Ernest D. Fasse*, Neville Hogan, Bruce A. Kay, Ferdinando A. Mussa-Ivaldi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


This paper considers interaction of the human arm with "virtual" objects simulated mechanically by a planar robot. Haptic perception of spatial properties of objects is distorted. It is reasonable to expect that it may be distorted in a geometrically consistent way. Three experiments were performed to quantify perceptual distortion of length, angle and orientation. We found that spatial perception is geometrically inconsistent across these perceptual tasks. Given that spatial perception is distorted, it is plausible that motor behavior may be distorted in a way consistent with perceptual distortion. In a fourth experiment, subjects were asked to draw circles. The results were geometrically inconsistent with those of the length perception experiment. Interestingly, although the results were inconsistent (statistically different), this difference was not strong (the relative distortion between the observed distributions was small). Some computational implications of this research for haptic perception and motor planning are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)69-83
Number of pages15
JournalBiological Cybernetics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Computer Science(all)


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