Recording & Rendering High-Frequency Vibrations Through a Deployable System

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In dangerous environments, teleoperation is needed to enable humans to execute tasks remotely. To assist in these tasks, haptic teleoperation systems provide the human operator with the sense of touch of the telerobot. One way to provide this sense of touch is through high-frequency vibration feedback. State-of-the-art solutions generally rely on integrated hardware, which limits their application to specific telerobots and master devices.
The aim of this study is to develop a deployable high-frequency vibration feedback method through an add-on setup. In the presented system, both the vibration recording device and vibration feedback display run on a single microcontroller. Furthermore, all components are small in size and portable by the robotic or human hand.
Spectral analysis of the replicated vibrations shows that the presented system is capable of mimicking textures. To evaluate the effectiveness of the texture imitations, a human factors experiment is conducted. Twenty participants executed a texture identification task for two conditions: a manual condition with direct tactile feedback and a teleoperated condition with tactile feedback displayed by the presented system.
Results show that 75-85% of the textures were correctly identified in the teleoperated condition. These correctness rates are close to the results of the manual condition (96% correct) and outperform the chances of random guessing by a factor three. In the teleoperated condition, participants took on average 67% longer than in the manual feedback condition.
Based on these results, it is concluded that the presented add-on system enables humans to accurately feel high-frequency vibrations in teleoperation.