Background: Deficits of kinesthesia (limb position and movement sensation) commonly limit sensorimotor function and its recovery after neuromotor injury. Sensory substitution technologies providing synthetic kinesthetic feedback might re-establish or enhance closed-loop control of goal-directed behaviors in people with impaired kinesthesia. Methods: As a first step toward this goal, we evaluated the ability of unimpaired people to use vibrotactile sensory substitution to enhance stabilization and reaching tasks. Through two experiments, we compared the objective and subjective utility of two forms of supplemental feedback- limb state information or hand position error- to eliminate hand position drift, which develops naturally during stabilization tasks after removing visual feedback. Results: Experiment 1 optimized the encoding of limb state feedback; the best form included hand position and velocity information, but was weighted much more heavily toward position feedback. Upon comparing optimal limb state feedback vs. hand position error feedback in Experiment 2, we found both encoding schemes capable of enhancing stabilization and reach performance in the absence of vision. However, error encoding yielded superior outcomes- objective and subjective- due to the additional task-relevant information it contains. Conclusions: The results of this study have established the immediate utility and relative merits of two forms of vibrotactile kinesthetic feedback in enhancing stabilization and reaching actions performed with the arm and hand in neurotypical people. These findings can guide future development of vibrotactile sensory substitution technologies for improving sensorimotor function after neuromotor injury in survivors who retain motor capacity, but lack proprioceptive integrity in their more affected arm.

Supplemental vibrotactile feedback control of stabilization and reaching actions of the arm using limb state and position error encodings

CASADIO, MAURA;
2017-01-01

Abstract

Background: Deficits of kinesthesia (limb position and movement sensation) commonly limit sensorimotor function and its recovery after neuromotor injury. Sensory substitution technologies providing synthetic kinesthetic feedback might re-establish or enhance closed-loop control of goal-directed behaviors in people with impaired kinesthesia. Methods: As a first step toward this goal, we evaluated the ability of unimpaired people to use vibrotactile sensory substitution to enhance stabilization and reaching tasks. Through two experiments, we compared the objective and subjective utility of two forms of supplemental feedback- limb state information or hand position error- to eliminate hand position drift, which develops naturally during stabilization tasks after removing visual feedback. Results: Experiment 1 optimized the encoding of limb state feedback; the best form included hand position and velocity information, but was weighted much more heavily toward position feedback. Upon comparing optimal limb state feedback vs. hand position error feedback in Experiment 2, we found both encoding schemes capable of enhancing stabilization and reach performance in the absence of vision. However, error encoding yielded superior outcomes- objective and subjective- due to the additional task-relevant information it contains. Conclusions: The results of this study have established the immediate utility and relative merits of two forms of vibrotactile kinesthetic feedback in enhancing stabilization and reaching actions performed with the arm and hand in neurotypical people. These findings can guide future development of vibrotactile sensory substitution technologies for improving sensorimotor function after neuromotor injury in survivors who retain motor capacity, but lack proprioceptive integrity in their more affected arm.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11567/864998
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