Effects of vision and friction on haptic perception

Jesse O. Perreault, Caroline G.L. Cao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Two experiments were conducted to examine the effects of vision and masking friction on contact perception and compliance differentiation thresholds in a simulated tissue-probing task. Background: In minimally invasive surgery, the surgeon receives limited haptic feedback because of the current design of the instrumentation and relies on visual feedback to judge the amount of force applied to the tissues. It is suggested that friction forces inherent in the instruments contribute to errors in surgeons' haptic perception. This paper investigated the psychophysics of contact detection and cross-modal sensory processing in the context of minimally invasive surgery. Method: A within-subjects repeated measures design was used, with friction, vision, tissue softness, and order of presentation as independent factors, and applied force, detection time, error, and confidence as dependent measures. Eight participants took part in each experiment, with data recorded by a custom force-sensing system. Results: In both detection and differentiation tasks, higher thresholds, longer detection times, and more errors were observed when vision was not available. The effect was more pronounced when haptic feedback was masked by friction forces in the surgical device (p < .05). Conclusion: Visual and haptic feedback were equally important for tissue compliance differentiation. Application: A frictionless endoscopic instrument can be designed to restore critical haptic information to surgeons without having to create haptic feedback artificially.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)574-586
Number of pages13
JournalHuman Factors
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Applied Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Effects of vision and friction on haptic perception'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this