We have developed a novel tactile presentation system for assessing and training cognitive function on tactile senses. The device is operational in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) environment and capable of investigating the underlying neural mechanisms of tactile pattern discrimination. The primary components of the system include a finger movement control unit (FCU), a disk for multiple tactile pattern delivery (DPD), and a force-sensing unit (FSU). An ultrasonic motor rotates the DPD to deliver different tactile patterns for cognitive sensitivity test. We evaluated the operational reliability and the performance of the system in a MRI environment. The results showed that the system performance was not affected by the magnetic field, nor did the system operation interfere with the magnetic field either. The results from the two functional MRI experiments also indicated that the brain activation can be reliably detected with the present system. Furthermore, a tactile pattern discrimination experiment was conducted using the system to investigate cognitive characteristics of shape discrimination under active and passive touch conditions. We found that the mean accuracy of discrimination under active touch was significantly higher than that under passive touch. The high accuracy and magnetic field compatibility of the device suggest that the device provides a powerful means of investigating the neural mechanisms of perception and cognitive function for touch discrimination.
- Functional magnetic resonance imaging
- Tactile presentation system
ASJC Scopus subject areas