Stimulation Devices for Human Haptic Perception and Their Applications in Cranial Nerve Diseases

Stimulation Devices for Human Haptic Perception and Their Applications in Cranial Nerve Diseases

Jian Zhang (Beijing Institute of Technology, China), Liancun Zhang (Beijing Institute of Technology, China) and Jinglong Wu (Okayama University, Japan & Beijing Institute of Technology, China)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0925-7.ch006
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Abstract

Tactile perception is a class of complicated sensations that can be divided into categories including concrete pressure, shape, and temperature perception. In different parts of the human body, the distribution of tactile sensitivity clearly differs. Various stimulatory devices are becoming increasingly widely used in studies of human haptic perception. New methods and devices that can be used to explore tactile stimulation are also being developed and have yielded many important results. This paper introduces such tactile stimulation devices, which can be divided into many categories according to qualities, including their geometric properties, temperature, force, and vibration. This article also introduces some devices that can be used to guide clinical diagnosis and treatment. These devices can be used to examine a patient's haptic perception to help the patient's doctors diagnose their illness.
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Background

In everyday life, we attach great value to vision and hearing because of the roles they play in making us aware of our surroundings. Touch is also important to cognition (James, Kim & Fisher, 2007). The blind rely heavily on the sense of touch in their normal activities, and even deaf-blind individuals come to know much about the world around them and to function well within it (Gazzaniga, Ivry & Mangun, 2013). Touch is a method that is used to identify objects according to tactile sensation, which is a class of complicated sensations that can be divided into categories including concrete pressure, shape, and temperature perception.

Different parts of the human body are associated with clearly different distributions of brain activity (as shown in Figure 1) (Penfield & Rasmussen, 1950). Moreover, because of the inhomogeneity in the skin tissue structures that lie beneath different sites of measurement, the distribution of tactile sensitivity is also clearly different. For the purpose of studies into human haptic perception, various stimulation devices are becoming increasingly widely used. New methods and devices used to explore tactile stimulation are also being developed and have yielded many important results, especially in the medical field.

Figure 1.

Brain areas involved in haptic perception

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Stimulation Devices Of Human Haptic Perception

In numerous experiments, many types of devices have been used, each of which provides different types of stimulation, depending on a number of factors. Because they are used in different environments, the construction and properties of these instruments show a large amount of divergence. Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) has been widely applied in the field of brain cognition research. To use fMRI, the automatic functions and magnetic fields of stimulatory devices must be strictly controlled.

Stimulation devices can be divided into many categories according to the type of stimuli they produce, which can include geometric properties, temperature, force, or vibration. This paper summarizes the typical stimulation devices that are used to study human haptic perception.

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