Contact Force and Duration Effects on Static and Dynamic Tactile Texture Discrimination

  • Hoi Fei Kwok
  • Kerry Darkins
  • Calogero M. Oddo
  • Lucia Beccai
  • Alan M. Wing
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 6192)


Tactile roughness magnitude estimates increase with contact force. However, it is not known whether discrimination thresholds are affected by contact force and other parameters, such as duration and tangential movement. The effects of these factors on roughness discrimination thresholds were determined using an adaptive staircase procedure for coarse and fine texture discrimination during active touch. The presence of tangential movement (dynamic touch) significantly reduced thresholds in coarse and fine texture discrimination compared to static touch, with effects more marked with fine textures. Contact force did not affect discrimination except in static touch of coarse texture when the threshold was significantly higher with low force. Within the perspective that texture discrimination involves distinct vibratory and spatial mechanisms, the results suggest that spatial-dependent texture discrimination deteriorates when contact force is reduced whereas vibration-dependent texture discrimination is unaffected by contact force. Texture discrimination was independent of contact duration in the range 1.36s to 3.46s, suggesting that tactile integration processes are completed relatively quickly.


Tactile discrimination roughness contact force 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hoi Fei Kwok
    • 1
  • Kerry Darkins
    • 1
  • Calogero M. Oddo
    • 2
  • Lucia Beccai
    • 3
  • Alan M. Wing
    • 1
  1. 1.Sensory and Motor Neuroscience, School of PsychologyUniversity of BirminghamEdgbaston, BirminghamUnited Kingdom
  2. 2.Advanced Robotics Technology and Systems Laboratory, Polo Sant’Anna ValderaPontedera, PisaItaly
  3. 3.Center for Micro-BioRobotics, Italian Institute of TechnologyPontedera, PisaItaly

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