GRASP Special Seminar - Karlin Bark, Stanford University, "Rotational Skin Stretch for Wearable Haptics: A New Approach to Tactile Display"

Abstract: This work is motivated by the idea that new modes of haptic interaction are needed to expand the range of activities and applications for wearable electronic devices. In applications ranging from motion training and physical rehabilitation to teleoperation of a remote system, haptic feedback can provide valuable information about forces and motions, particularly when vision and audition are otherwise occupied. An under appreciated component of haptic sensation, particularly for applications involving portable devices, is skin stretch. Skin stretch is a known part of the normal physiological apparatus for proprioception, contributing to our sense of motion and location of our limbs. The motions and velocities necessary to impart skin stretch can be low, allowing for the design of compact, low-power, wearable devices.   With this in mind, I have focused on skin stretch for the display of proprioceptive information associated, for example, with the motions of a person's limbs.  

In this talk I will discuss the development and design of a rotational skin stretch feedback device as well as studies conducted to quantify the ability of humans to use and interpret the feedback.  A unique attribute of skin stretch is that it provides subjects with a sense of both position and velocity simultaneously.  Our ability to interpret the feedback depends heavily on the setting and task, but studies indicate that users can use skin stretch feedback to improve the control of a device where skin stretch feedback substitutes for normal proprioception.  A three-dimensional analysis of skin motions, using visual tracking of markers on the skin, provides additional insight into the factors that contribute to our perception of skin stretch. Applications for which rotational skin stretch feedback is best suited are also discussed.

Presenter's biography

Karlin Bark received her Ph.D in mechanical engineering at Stanford University in 2009 working under Professor Mark Cutkosky in the Biomimetics and Dexterous Manipulation Laboratory. She received her B.S. degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Michigan in 2003, and the M.S degree in mechanical engineering at Stanford University in 2005 with a focus on design methodology and controls. Her research interests include haptics, human factors based design, and robotics with medical applications. When not pondering the challenges of skin stretch, she enjoys keeping up to date on the latest in movies, television and theater, and spending quality time with her friends and family.