Quantifying Physiological Response to Inadequate Sensory Feedback

Faculty Sponsor

Reva Johnson




Department of Mechanical Engineering and Bioengineering

Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Symposium Date

Spring 5-3-2018


Electrodermal activity (EDA) and electrocardiograms (ECG) have been shown to be strong indicators of physiological stress responses [1]. However, we do not know if EDA and ECG can also be used to quantify physiological response to inadequate sensory feedback. Sensory feedback describes all information an individual obtains through interaction with their environment. If this sensory information is inconsistent or inadequate, an individual will be unable to accurately assess their surroundings. If we can measure a physiological response to deficiencies in sensory feedback, this knowledge will be helpful in designing sensory feedback systems for human-machine interfaces, such as prostheses.

To determine if the response to inadequate sensory feedback can be measured by EDA and ECG sensors, we developed an interface that allows us to manipulate the resolution of sensory feedback that a subject receives while completing a virtual maze with two degrees of directional freedom. The interface allows us to vary two types of sensory feedback: the visibility of the cursor and the tactile feedback that a user receives while moving in the virtual environment. We will then measure how the subject’s physiological stress response correlates with the changes in sensory feedback. We hypothesize that significant deficiencies or excess in sensory information will result in increased magnitudes of physiological stress, whereas adequate sensory information will minimize stress. We should be able to measure these variances in a subject’s stress state using EDA and ECG biosensors.

[1] Ogorevc, J., et al, “Metrological evaluation of skin conductance measurements,” 2013.

Biographical Information about Author(s)

Robert, James, Mitchell, and Isaac are all students at Valparaiso University studying mechanical and biomedical engineering. Robert and James are both seniors, local to Schererville, Indiana and Naperville, Illinois. Mitchell and Isaac are juniors, local to Belleville, Wisconsin and Three Oaks, Michigan, respectively.

All four have been actively conducting research in the College of Engineering’s Human-Machine Interfaces (HMI) laboratory. Their research collectively looks at the interplay between human beings and biological technology.

This document is currently not available here.