Vibrotactile Guidance for Motor Skill Learning and Its Application to Drumming Learning
- Vibrotactile Guidance for Motor Skill Learning and Its Application to Drumming Learning
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- With recent medical and economical advances, people are spending more and more time on leisure-time physical activities such as jogging, swimming, or playing music. These activities, or motor skills, often require to perform a certain sequence of unit movements at a given performance speed, which can be difficult to learn. One efficient way of skill learning is to observe another's demonstration and to practice the skill based on it. It seems not efficient to use the sight or hearing for demonstration observation because those channels are usually occupied by the skill. Via the sense of touch, it is possible to deliver the guidance information while making the sight and hearing available for the acquisition of other vital information about the skill. Also, it can provide guidance to whom visual demonstration is not applicable, i.e., the blind.
In this regard, we propose a vibrotactile guidance method for learning complex procedural motor skills using vibrotactile cues generated by multiple vibration actuators worn by the learner. Drumming is used as a target skill representing the motor skills requiring fast, patterned, coordinated discrete movements of multiple limbs. A natural egocentric mapping of our system from the body site of vibrotactile stimulation to a target percussion instrument (PI) in a drum set enables intuitive guidance for striking movements. The method also informs the learner of two levels of PI striking strength by varying both the intensity and duration of vibrotactile cues.
To evaluate the performance of our method in delivering guidance information, a series of human-subject experiments were conducted. An initial perceptual assessment of the system showed 96.18% of accuracy and 0.77 s of time in delivering the information on the target PI and strength level for a single strike, and it was 55.03% and 1.11 s for a pair of concurrent strikes. When provided with a sequence (4 items) of single or paired vibrotactile cues, the participants showed 88.4, 56.3, and 23.3% of response accuracy and 7.53, 10.15, and 13.71 s of response time for simple, moderate, and complex sequences, respectively.
The effectiveness of our guidance system was also evaluated with an actual experimental scenario of drum rhythm learning. Three sets of short drum rhythms were learned for three days using different learning methods (practice only, practice with video guidance, and practice with vibrotactile guidance), and the participant's performance was compared among the learning methods. The experimental results indicated that vibrotactile guidance was as helpful as video guidance in learning the temporal pattern of a drum rhythm, which suggests that our vibrotactile guidance method is a viable alternative to video guidance.
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