Haptic identification of common objects: effects of constraining the manual exploration process.
In this article, we address the effects on haptic recognition of common objects when manual exploration is constrained by using two kinds of rigid links--sheaths (Experiment 1A) and probes (Experiments 1B and 2). The collective effects of five different constraints are considered, including three from previous research (i.e., reducing the number of end effectors, wearing a compliant finger cover, and splinting the fingers; Klatzky, Loomis, Lederman, Wake, & Fujita, 1993) and from two current constraints (i.e., wearing a rigid finger sheath and using a rigid probe). The resulting impairments are interpreted in terms of the loss of somatosensory information from cutaneous and/or kinesthetic inputs. In addition, we relate the results to the design of haptic interfaces for teleoperation and virtual environments, which share some of the same reduction of sensory cues that we have produced experimentally.