Rehabilitation and motor learning through vibrotactile feedback

Roshan Panchanathan, Jacob Rosenthal, Troy McDaniel

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

4 Scopus citations


Group instruction is the most common delivery method of motor skill training given its cost and time effectiveness. This is also the case during rehabilitation where therapists divide their attention among several patients. Compared to dedicated one-on-one instruction, group instruction often suffers from reduced quality and quantity of instruction and feedback. Further, during rehabilitation programs, patients struggle outside of therapy sessions given the lack of instruction and feedback found only during clinic visits. We propose a wearable, low-cost motion sensing and actuation system capable of providing real-time vibrotactile feedback for trainer-defined goal movements and repetitions. The trainer inputs movement goals for the user, and adapts these values (joint angles, movement speeds) over time for continued progress. In this paper, we present a novel second generation design, and introduce a flexible vibrotactile strip to overcome construction challenges of these types of systems. The flexible display is constructed using commercial LED strips that have been modified by attaching pancake style vibration motors. The flexible display does not require external microcontrollers to enable or disable motors, and may allow these systems to be expanded to the whole body. We also summarize two previous studies that have assessed appropriate body sites and pattern designs for vibrotactile motor instructions and feedback signals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSmart Biomedical and Physiological Sensor Technology XI
EditorsBrian M. Cullum, Eric S. McLamore
ISBN (Electronic)9781628410440
StatePublished - 2014
EventSmart Biomedical and Physiological Sensor Technology XI - Baltimore, United States
Duration: May 7 2014May 9 2014

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


OtherSmart Biomedical and Physiological Sensor Technology XI
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • Flexible haptics
  • Instructions
  • Motor learning
  • Rehabilitation
  • Vibrotactile feedback

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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