Volume 49 Number 10, 2012
Pages 1517 — 1526
Abstract–Sensory feedback and the required attentional demands are important aspects in prosthesis acceptance. In this study, hand-opening feedback is provided and the performance in a virtual grasping task is investigated. Simultaneously, a secondary task was performed to investigate the attentional demands. Ten nondisabled subjects performed the tasks with and without feedback about the hand opening through an array of eight vibrotactile stimulators on the forearm. Activation of one stimulator corresponded to one hand-opening position. For the dual-task experiments, subjects simultaneously performed a secondary auditory counting task. The addition of vibrotactile feedback increased the performance (expressed in percentages of correct hand positions, mean absolute errors in position, and percentages of deviations up to one hand-opening position), but the duration of the tasks was also increased. Three levels of distraction (no distraction, counting task, count and subtract task) were applied, which did not influence the performance in the grasping tasks except for the highest level of distraction. We concluded that the proposed method to provide hand-opening feedback through an array of eight vibrotactile stimulators is successful because the performance in a grasping task increases but it is not significantly attention demanding.
Key words: attentional demands, auditory tasks, grasping performance, grasping task, hand opening, hand-opening feedback, myoelectric forearm prosthesis, secondary tasks, vibrotactile stimulation, virtual setup.
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