This article presents conceptual as well as experimental work toward the display of holistic haptic sensations in telepresence and virtual environment applications. (In this context holistic is understood in the sense of “not neglecting an essential component.”) In contrast to most existing developments, the presented haptic humansystem interface is a combination of dedicated subsystems for both kinesthetic and tactile display. With respect to the mechanical coupling of both subsystems, we propose two basic approaches. One is based on a parallel kinematic system setup and forms the conceptual basis of a multifingered experimental feedback device generating vibrotactile, thermal, and wrist/finger kinesthetic stimuli. Another is to demonstrate the potential to reduce the design complexity of tactile display subsystems in haptic human-system interfaces with a serial kinematic structure. For verification purposes, a tactile actuator array providing spatially distributed tactile shape display on a single fingertip has been combined with a single-fingered kinesthetic display. Each of the investigated combined haptic systems features significant functional advances compared to existing developments. The usability of our systems has been demonstrated in haptic exploration and object identification experiments in virtual environments.

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