This paper considers relevant human factors to interact with a pliable body in a teleoperation surgical environment. Our aim is to identify the human capabilities, in terms of penetration depth and responsiveness, in a task of pliable surface contact, where surgeons are required to adopt a specific behavior immediately after the contact. A psychophysical experiment is conducted using virtual surfaces rendered with two different force-feedback devices. The results show that impact velocity affects performance in surface contact perception. In a second experiment where different postures are used, we examine whether the previous results hold for the particular ergonomic configuration employed. The results show that posture affects performance especially in expert users. Our findings underscore the importance of understanding the interplay of human perceptual parameters in the surgical teleoperation framework.

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