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given in the table of figure 10.2 (Youngblut, 1996). Other technologies, like rheo-
logical fluids that change stiffness under the application of an electric or magnetic
field, are still being investigated. Technologies to be used for medical applications,
like electro-tactile and neuromuscular stimulators, are distinguished by their invasive
nature. Just like the capture components, the actuation components are manufactured
according to the nature of the desired actuation (optical, magnetic, thermal, mechan-
ical or chemical) and according to the power used: thermal, magnetic, electric or
Here too, the environmental factors like corrosion, heat, magnetic or electric phe-
nomena, as well as the size, arrangement and mechanical properties of the interface
must be taken into account. Finally, it is also necessary to state the properties of the
actuators (displacement, generation of a force, hysteresis, response time and band-
width). Cost is the final criterion for the selection of the actuation technology, which
may prove to be important in certain applications.
10.4.2 Classification of tactile interfaces according to the
domain of application
More than about sixty tactile feedback interfaces have been listed; all these interfaces
are presented in (Benali-Khoudja, 2004). These interfaces are based on the various
actuation technologies presented in figure 10.2. In most of the cases, the tactile inter-
face is presented in the form of an active surface made up of several micro-actuators
arranged in a matrix configuration. The selection of the actuation technology is often
related to the frequency intervals, deformation amplitudes and forces that are required
by the tactile feedback application. The step or the distance that separates two micro-
actuators is selected in a way that ensures continuity in tactile perception. This feature
varies, depending on what has been presented in the physiological study, according to
the area of the body to be stimulated (i.e. focussed on).
Figure 10.2 Summary of a few features of the actuation technologies
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