Behavioural and neurophysiological measures of haptic feedback during a drilling simulation

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Virtual environments (VEs) and computer-generated simulations are becoming more prevalent as tools for education, rehabilitation, and training purposes. As technology enhances the quality and quantity of human-machine interfaces, it is essential that we expand our understanding of multimodal interactions, and how they influence our virtual experience and associated brain activity. Haptic sensation, or touch, is often neglected in VE research. In this thesis, Study 1 showed that haptic force-feedback in a drilling simulation improved motor performance and ratings of perceived reality, as compared to trials without haptic feedback. Study 2 used electroencephalography measures and demonstrated greater desynchronization in trials with haptic feedback, as compared to trials without haptic feedback. Large effect sizes were found between haptic and non-haptic trials in the alpha frequency band (8-13 Hz). This work provides evidence that task-relevant haptic feedback can enhance motor performance, and may facilitate motor learning processes.
Haptic feedback, Simulation, Motor performance, Electroencephalography, Event-related desynchronization