Mapping the Sensory-Perceptual Space of Vibration for User-Centered Intuitive Tactile Design

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleContributedpeer-review


In vibrotactile design, it can be beneficial to communicate with potential users about the desired properties of a product. However, such users' expectations would need to be translated into physical vibration parameters. In everyday life, humans are frequently exposed to seat vibration. Humans have learned to intuitively associate specific labels (e.g., "tingling") with specific vibrations. Thus, the aim of this article is to identify the most common sensory-perceptual attributes and their relationships to vibration parameters. First, we generalized everyday-life seat vibration into sinusoidal, amplitude-modulated sinusoidal, white Gaussian noise and impulse-like vibrations. Subsequently, the (peak) level, (center/carrier) frequency, bandwidth, modulation frequency and exponential decay rate parameters of these vibrations were systematically varied depending on the signal type. A free association task was conducted to reveal the most common sensory-perceptual attributes for each vibration. After aggregating similar attributes, the 21 most frequently occurring attributes were utilized in a second experiment to rate their suitability for describing each vibration stimulus. Principal component analysis guided the selection of six attribute groups, which can be represented by "up and down," "tingling," "weak," "repetitive," "uniform" and "fading." The observed relationships between vibration parameters and attribute ratings are suitable for future model building.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-108
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Transactions on Haptics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021

External IDs

Scopus 85103308874
ORCID /0000-0002-3496-441X/work/142232472
ORCID /0000-0002-0803-8818/work/142257052
PubMed 32776881



  • Humans, Touch, Touch Perception, Vibration