Electrotactile feedback applications for hand and arm interactions: A systematic review, meta-analysis, and future directions
Haptic feedback is critical in a broad range of human-machine/computer-interaction applications. However, the high cost and low portability/wearability of haptic devices remain unresolved issues, severely limiting the adoption of this otherwise promising technology. Electrotactile interfaces have the advantage of being more portable and wearable due to their reduced actuators' size, as well as their lower power consumption and manufacturing cost. The applications of electrotactile feedback have been explored in human-computer interaction and human-machine-interaction for facilitating hand-based interactions in applications such as prosthetics, virtual reality, robotic teleoperation, surface haptics, portable devices, and rehabilitation. This paper presents a technological overview of electrotactile feedback, as well a systematic review and meta-analysis of its applications for hand-based interactions. We discuss the different electrotactile systems according to the type of application. We also discuss over a quantitative congregation of the findings, to offer a high-level overview into the state-of-art and suggest future directions. Electrotactile feedback systems showed increased portability/wearability, and they were successful in rendering and/or augmenting most tactile sensations, eliciting perceptual processes, and improving performance in many scenarios. However, knowledge gaps (e.g., embodiment), technical (e.g., recurrent calibration, electrodes' durability) and methodological (e.g., sample size) drawbacks were detected, which should be addressed in future studies.