CEC Theses and Dissertations

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Date of Award

2012

Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Information Systems (DCIS)

Department

Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences

Advisor

Maxine S Cohen

Committee Member

Leticia Vega

Committee Member

Laurie P. Dringus

Abstract

Tactons are tactile cues, which work in conjunction with a vibrotactile device that is placed on the body, and mechanically produces sensations on the skin surface; this allows the sense of touch to be used in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI). Effective tacton parameters of stimuli have been identified for a young population. However, studies have shown that the detection of vibrations degrades as a natural part of the aging process. Furthermore, there are a variety of different vibrotactile devices, and studies have shown that vibrotactile device type can affect detection thresholds. This presents a challenge since detection thresholds and recognition rates of different tacton cues, using one device, may not correlate to those of another. There is limited research on the effectiveness of tacton parameters and detection thresholds of simple waveforms in an older population of computer users, when using the C2 Tactor from EAI systems.

This work used the C2 Tactor and stimulus parameters similar to those which have been shown to be effective in a young population, and conducted a comparison study between a young population of computer users between 18 and 25 years old and an older population of computer users between 55 and 75 years old. The study compared both groups' detection thresholds of three different simple waveforms (sinusoidal, square, and sawtooth) and found a significant increase in detection threshold by the older group. In addition a comparison of both groups' recognition rates of modulated sinusoidal waveforms was conducted and it was found that the older group had a significant decrease in recognition rates of modulated sinusoidal waveforms. In addition, it was shown that increasing the amplitude significantly improved the recognition rate of the older test group. A significant amount of variance in detection threshold and tacton recognition rates was found in the older test group, particularly those over the age of 60. The results of this study clearly showed a correlation between age, detection threshold, and recognition rates of tactons. The study shows that detection threshold and recognition rate deficiencies of older adults are functions of frequency and amplitude and not waveform or device.

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