The effect of tactile augmentation on manipulation and grip force control during force-field adaptation

Chen Avraham, Ilana Nisky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background: When exposed to a novel dynamic perturbation, participants adapt by changing their movements' dynamics. This adaptation is achieved by constructing an internal representation of the perturbation, which allows for applying forces that compensate for the novel external conditions. To form an internal representation, the sensorimotor system gathers and integrates sensory inputs, including kinesthetic and tactile information about the external load. The relative contribution of the kinesthetic and tactile information in force-field adaptation is poorly understood. Methods: In this study, we set out to establish the effect of augmented tactile information on adaptation to force-field. Two groups of participants received a velocity-dependent tangential skin deformation from a custom-built skin-stretch device together with a velocity-dependent force-field from a kinesthetic haptic device. One group experienced a skin deformation in the same direction of the force, and the other in the opposite direction. A third group received only the velocity-dependent force-field. Results: We found that adding a skin deformation did not affect the kinematics of the movement during adaptation. However, participants who received skin deformation in the opposite direction adapted their manipulation forces faster and to a greater extent than those who received skin deformation in the same direction of the force. In addition, we found that skin deformation in the same direction to the force-field caused an increase in the applied grip-force per amount of load force, both in response and in anticipation of the stretch, compared to the other two groups. Conclusions: Augmented tactile information affects the internal representations for the control of manipulation and grip forces, and these internal representations are likely updated via distinct mechanisms. We discuss the implications of these results for assistive and rehabilitation devices.

Original languageEnglish
Article number17
JournalJournal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation
Issue number1
StatePublished - 11 Feb 2020


  • Force-field adaptation
  • Grip force control
  • Manipulation force control
  • Sensory augmentation
  • Skin-stretch

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Health Informatics


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