View Full Version : Summary: Vibrating device for touch testing

12-21-2008, 11:41 PM
I posted a message requesting information about devices to test the
sense of touch.
Thanks to everybody who responded to my request. Following is a summary
of the responses I got.
If anyone has any more suggestions please feel free to send them on.
Thanks again,
Juan V. Durá


I encountered a similar challenge a few years ago when working on my
dissertation. I was interested in the role of proprioceptors (sensitive
to specific frequency & amplitude of vibration) to the control of
balance and gait. When I queried into commercially available devices, I
was unable to find one. In the end, we custom designed a device using a
motor from a remote control car and an eccentric mass powered via a
signal from a Labview program. It took quite a bit of work to design and
validate the frequency and amplitude of the vibration. Since then, I
have had cause to use the Fallscreen, created and sold by Stephen Lord
(Australia) fallscreen@unsw.edu.au The kit comes with a cutaneous
sensation device designed to measure sensation in the leg at the
patella. It is rather cumbersome and may not be suitable for your
purposes, but it is the only commercially vibration device that I am
familiar with.
I would suggest contacting the company to get the details of the

Sandra M McKay, PhD
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Centre for Studies in Aging, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
and Health Care Technology and Place, University of Toronto
T. 416.480.5858
F. 416.480.5856
E. sandra.mckay@sri.utoronto.ca


http://www.eaiinfo.com/Tactor Products.htm


There is something called a biothesiometer (sometimes called
neurothesiometer which can measure vibrotactile sensitivity. I have
never used it, but I kwow it from research in diabetic neuropathy.
Moreover you can test tactile sensitivity with Semmes Weinstein
Monofilaments. A third method used is the 2-point discrimination.

Juha Hijmans, MSc
Center for Rehabilitation
University Medical Center Groningen
P.O. Box 30.001
9700 RB Groningen
The Netherlands
Phone +31 (0)50 36 11762
E-mail j.m.hijmans@rev.umcg.nl


We are exploring in the same direction: we aimed at the capabilities
for the
human hand to perceive a movement of small amplitude and at a given
frequency. We developed a custom-made device with two motors driven by
one for the frequency and the other one for the amplitude. The subject
his hand and a small platform which is vibrating, or let's say,
oscillating.The angle of the oscillation is very small and we express
the motion at the
border of the platform; the amplitude is between about 35µm and 800 µm
(about 0.029 to 0.655 degrees). Frequency, that is the period is in
7 to 20 sec peak to peak (0.14 to 0.05 Hz).
The motion is uniaxial and sinusoidal. The feed-back of the true motion
given by a Laser device measuring the real amplitude and the
frequency.The subject is asked to indicate at which moment he feels a
A second protocol is to invite him to follow the sinusoidal pattern:
pushes a button of a PC-mouse when he thinks to perceive the motion to
be at
a maximum.We have already performed first measurements. It's not all
easy as it is
very time-consuming. Furthermore we notice that probably many other
parameters are involved: direction of the hand (flexion - extension or
pro -
supination) one hand or two, forearm on a rest or not, ...The question
is also if we are in touch testing that is pressure (tactile)
as parameter or are we in sensor motor perception (proprioception) or
combination of the two and even more?

Prof Paul Klein
Université libre de Bruxelles
Institute for Motor Sciences, Research Unit for Manual Therapies
CP 640, Bat N, 808, route de Lennik
1070 Brussels Belgium
phone +32 2 555 38 91


We have used EAI Tactors for some of our research and are able to vary
frequency and amplitude. You can get more information at their

Jessica Ventura, MSME
The University of Texas at Austin
Neuromuscular Biomechanics Lab


In University of Leeds, we use piezoelectric actuator to generate small
and accurate dispalcement vibration. We attach the tactile sensor on the
actuator. It works very well.

Research Fellow
Instituteof EngineeringSystems and Design
Schoolof Mechanical Engineering
Universityof Leeds
Tel: 0113 34 32215
Fax: 0113 34 32150


Universidad Politécnica de Valencia • Edificio 9C
Camino de Vera s/n • 46022 VALENCIA (ESPAÑA)
Tel. +34 96 387 91 60 • Fax +34 96 387 91 69

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