Good Vibrations: An Evaluation of Vibrotactile Impedance Matching for Low Power Wearable Applications

Jack Lindsay, Iris Jiang, Eric Larson, Richard Adams, Shwetak Patel, Blake Hannaford


Vibrotactile devices suffer from poor energy efficiency, arising from a mismatch between the device and the impedance of the human skin. This results in over-sized actuators and excessive power consumption, and prevents development of more sophisticated, miniaturized and low-power mobile tactile devices. In this paper, we present the experimental evaluation of a vibrotactile system designed to match the impedance of the skin to the impedance of the actuator. This system is able to quadruple the motion of the skin without increasing power consumption, and produce sensations equivalent to a standard system while consuming 1/2 of the power. By greatly reducing the size and power constraints of vibrotactile actuators, this technology offers a means to realize more sophisticated, smaller haptic devices for the user interface community.