This paper presents the design and evaluation of a new controller for a multi-finger tactual display in speech communication. A two-degree-of-freedom controller consisting of a feedback controller and a prefilter and its application in a consonant contrasting experiment are presented. The feedback controller provides stable, fast, and robust response of the fingerpad interface and the prefilter shapes the frequency-response of the closed-loop system to match with the human detection-threshold function. The controller is subsequently used in a speech communication system that extracts spectral features from recorded speech signals and presents them as vibrational-motional waveforms to three digits on a receiver’s left hand. Performance from a consonantal contrast test suggests that participants are able to identify tactual cues necessary for discriminating consonants in the initial position of consonant-vowel-consonant (CVC) segments. The average sensitivity indices for contrasting voicing, place, and manner features are 3.5, 2.7, and 3.4, respectively. The results show that the consonantal features can be successfully transmitted by utilizing a broad range of the kinesthetic-cutaneous sensory system. The present study also demonstrates the validity of designing controllers that take into account not only the electromechanical properties of the hardware, but the sensory characteristics of the human user.

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