Visually guided haptic search

M.A. Plaisier, A.M.L. Kappers, W.M. Bergmann Tiest, M.O. Ernst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


In this study, we investigate the influence of visual feedback on haptic exploration. A haptic search task was designed in which subjects had to haptically explore a virtual display using a force-feedback device and to determine whether a target was present among distractor items. Although the target was recognizable only haptically, visual feedback of finger position or possible target positions could be given. Our results show that subjects could use visual feedback on possible target positions even in the absence of feedback on finger position. When there was no feedback on possible target locations, subjects scanned the whole display systematically. When feedback on finger position was present, subjects could make well-directed movements back to areas of interest. This was not the case without feedback on finger position, indicating that showing finger position helps to form a spatial representation of the display. In addition, we show that response time models of visual serial search do not generally apply for haptic serial search. Consequently, in teleoperation systems, for instance, it is helpful to show the position of the probe even if visual information on the scene is poor.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-72
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE Transactions on Haptics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


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