Purdue University Graduate School
PhD_Thesis_2023.pdf (28.46 MB)

The Pursuit of Effective Artificial Tactile Speech Communication: Improvements and Cognitive Characteristics of a Phonemic-based Approach

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posted on 2023-04-26, 14:12 authored by Juan S MartinezJuan S Martinez

Tactile speech communication allows individuals to understand speech by sensations transmitted through the sense of touch. Devices that enable tactile speech communication can be an effective means to transmit important messages when the visual and/or auditory systems are overloaded or impaired. This has applications in silent communication and for people with hearing and/or visual impairments. An effective artificial speech communication system must be learned in a reasonable time and be easily remembered. Moreover, it must transmit any word at suitable rates for speech communication. The pursuit of a system that fulfills these requirements is a complex task that requires work in different areas. This thesis presents advancements in four of them. First is the matter of encoding speech information. Here, a phonemic-based approach allowed participants to recognize of tactile phonemes, words, phrases and full sentences. Second is the issue of training users in the use of the system. To this end, this thesis investigated the phenomenon of incidental categorization of vibrotactile stimuli as the foundation of more natural methods to learn a tactile speech communication system. Third is the matter of the neural processing of the tactile speech information. Here, an exploration of the functional characteristics of the phonemic-based approach using EEG was conducted. Finally, there is the matter of implementing the system for consumer use. In this area, this work addresses practical considerations of delivering rich haptic effects with current wearable technologies. These are informative for the design of actuators used in tactile speech communication devices.


Google Faculty Research Award 2019

National Science Foundation 1954842-IIS

Facebook Research Grant


Degree Type

  • Doctor of Philosophy


  • Electrical and Computer Engineering

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Hong Z. Tan

Additional Committee Member 2

Charlotte M. Reed

Additional Committee Member 3

Hari M. Bharadwaj

Additional Committee Member 4

Alexander J. Quinn

Additional Committee Member 5

Robert W. Proctor