Soft-Brush: A Novel Tendon Driven Tactile Stimulator for Affective Touch in Children with Autism

Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing book series (AISC, volume 779)


Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) is a prevalent developmental disorder and is associated with high familial and societal cost. Early interventions during the first year can have the best developmental outcomes despite the fact that the earliest diagnosis of ASD is only possible by the age of two. Investigating brain response to basic stimuli like sight, smell and touch has proved to have the potential to find markers between individuals with ASD and their neurotypical peers during infancy. Since existing tactile stimulus delivering method tend to suffer from low accuracy, low availability and low tolerability, it is necessary to develop a precise, high-tolerable tactile stimulus delivering mechanism. The present study examined the feasibility and tolerability of Soft-Brush, a comfortable, mobile silicone tactile stimulator with tendon-driven mechanism, for delivering tactile stimulus in multisensory studies. Experiments have shown that Soft-Brush has high tolerance rate by the children during experiments resulting in reliable data collection.


Autism Spectrum Disorders Tactile stimulator Systems engineering Affective touch 



We would like to thank all the participants and their families for their time and participation. We would also like to thank Simeng Zhao for helping hardware development for this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Mechanical EngineeringVanderbilt UniversityNashvilleUSA
  2. 2.Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer ScienceVanderbilt UniversityNashvilleUSA
  3. 3.Department of PediatricsVanderbilt UniverisityNashvilleUSA
  4. 4.Department of PsychiatryVanderbilt UniversityNashvilleUSA
  5. 5.Treatment and Research Institute of Autism Spectrum Disorders (TRIAD), Vanderbilt UniversityNashvilleUSA

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