Perception of time-discrete haptic feedback on the waist is invariant with gait events

I. Cesini, E. Martini, M. Filosa, G. Spigler, A. M. Sabatini, N. Vitiello, C. M. Oddo, S. Crea

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


The effectiveness of haptic feedback devices highly depends on the perception of tactile stimuli, which differs across body parts and can be affected by movement. In this study, a novel wearable sensory feedback apparatus made of a pair of pressure-sensitive insoles and a belt equipped with vibrotactile units is presented; the device provides time-discrete vibrations around the waist, synchronized with biomechanically-relevant gait events during walking. Experiments with fifteen healthy volunteers were carried out to investigate users' tactile perception on the waist. Stimuli of different intensities were provided at twelve locations, each time synchronously with one pre-defined gait event (i.e. heel strike, flat foot or toe off), following a pseudo-random stimulation sequence. Reaction time, detection rate and localization accuracy were analyzed as functions of the stimulation level and site and the effect of gait events on perception was investigated. Results revealed that above-threshold stimuli (i.e. vibrations characterized by acceleration amplitudes of 1.92g and 2.13g and frequencies of 100 Hz and 150 Hz, respectively) can be effectively perceived in all the sites and successfully localized when the intertactor spacing is set to 10 cm. Moreover, it was found that perception of time-discrete vibrations was not affected by phase-related gating mechanisms, suggesting that the waist could be considered as a preferred body region for delivering haptic feedback during walking.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9078364
Pages (from-to)1595-1604
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020


  • Abdomen
  • Belts
  • Gait events
  • Haptic interfaces
  • Legged locomotion
  • Sensors
  • Thigh
  • Vibrations
  • haptic display
  • mobile applications
  • perception
  • reaction time
  • sensory augmentation
  • sensory feedback
  • vibrotactile stimulation
  • waist
  • wearable haptics


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