A Virtual Reality Application of the Rubber Hand Illusion Induced by Ultrasonic Mid-Air Haptic Stimulation

Anca Salagean, Jacob Hadnett-Hunter, Daniel Finnegan, Alexandra A de Sousa, Michael Proulx

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Ultrasonic mid-air haptic technologies, which provide haptic feedback through airwaves produced using ultrasound, could be employed to investigate the sense of body ownership and immersion in virtual reality (VR) by inducing the virtual hand illusion (VHI). Ultrasonic mid-air haptic perception has solely been investigated for glabrous (hairless) skin, which has higher tactile sensitivity than hairy skin. In contrast, the VHI paradigm typically targets hairy skin without comparisons to glabrous skin. The aim of this paper was to investigate illusory body ownership, the applicability of ultrasonic mid-air haptics, and perceived immersion in VR using the VHI. Fifty participants viewed a virtual hand being stroked by a feather synchronously and asynchronously with the ultrasonic stimulation applied to the glabrous skin on the palmar surface and the hairy skin on the dorsal surface of their hands. Questionnaire responses revealed that synchronous stimulation induced a stronger VHI than asynchronous stimulation. In synchronous conditions, the VHI was stronger for palmar stimulation than dorsal stimulation. The ultrasonic stimulation was also perceived as more intense on the palmar surface compared to the dorsal surface. Perceived immersion was not related to illusory body ownership per se but was enhanced by the provision of synchronous stimulation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalACM Transactions on Applied Perception
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jan 2022


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