Model-based Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation for Tactile Sensations

  • Gloria A Araiza Illan

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)


In this work, a transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation system for a human finger was developed and compared to a mechanical stimulation system in both a simulated environment and through psychophysical tests using the respective hardware implementations to evaluate the similarity of the resulting tactile sensations. It was observed that the selective stimulation of fibres located at different depths (modelled as one shallower and one deeper fibre) is directly dependent on the TENS design, particularly on the excitation patterns given by the individual electrode currents, which has not been documented in literature.
The simulation environment allowed the design of particular electrical stimulation patterns for an eight electrode array. These stimuli belonged to two classes, one designed to selectively stimulate a shallower fibre (representing one SA1 fibre) and the other designed to selectively stimulate a deeper fibre (representing one PC fibre). The stimuli were tested using the hardware implementation of the TENS system, resulting in the participants showing a better performance in the psychophysical tests when discriminating between classes than within classes in two of the three tested frequencies (10 and 50 Hz). This shows that different tactile sensations were perceived when using the designed classes of stimuli.
Date of Award23 Jan 2020
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Bristol
SupervisorJonathan M Rossiter (Supervisor) & Chris Kent (Supervisor)


  • neuroscience
  • spike train
  • electrotactile stimulation
  • electrical stimulation
  • nerve stimulation
  • selective stimulation
  • TENS
  • nerve modelling
  • haptic feedback
  • haptics
  • tactile sensation
  • touch

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