Warning Drivers about Impending Collisions Using Vibrotactile Flow

Mujthaba Ahtamad, Charles Spence, Cristy Ho, Robert Gray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Vibrotactile collision warning signals that create a sensation of motion across a driver's body result in faster brake reaction times (BRTs) to potential collision events. To date, however, such warnings have only simulated linear motion. We extended this research by exploring the effectiveness of collision warnings that incorporate vibrotactile patterns or 'vibrotactile flow'. In Experiment 1, expanding and contracting vibrotactile flow warnings were compared with a static warning (all tactors activated simultaneously) and a no warning condition in a car following scenario. Both vibrotactile flow warnings produced significantly faster BRTs than the static and no warning conditions. However, there was no directional effect. That is, there was no significant difference between contracting and expanding signals. Warnings that utilize vibrotactile flow therefore appear to provide an effective means of informing drivers about potential collision events. However, unlike comparable warnings utilizing linear motion, their effectiveness does not seem to depend on the precise relationship between the warning and collision events. Experiment 2 demonstrated that a tactile warning incorporating linear motion produced significantly faster BRTs than an expanding vibrotactile flow warning. Taken together, these results suggest that vibrotactile warnings that simulate linear motion may be more effective than vibrotactile flow warnings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7336559
Pages (from-to)134-141
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Transactions on Haptics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016


  • Attention
  • apparent movement
  • automotive
  • perception and psychophysics
  • tactile display
  • vibration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Science Applications


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