In human sensing of surface texture, both force feedback from surface features and vibratory feedback from repeated stimulation of tactile mechanoreceptors may be involved. The present study investigated the effectiveness of two haptic interfaces, one providing force feedback to the fingertip, and the other providing vibratory feedback to the fingertip, in conveying aspects of surface texture. Results for the vibratory display indicated that subjects could differentiate surfaces that differed in vibratory frequency, intensity, and spatial density. For the force display, we obtained minimum values for differences in spatial frequency and amplitude that permitted discrimination between pairs of surfaces. Implications for the simulation of real surfaces are discussed.

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