The objective of this research was to study the capabilities of sensory substitution for force feedback through the tactile and auditory senses for teleoperation tasks, with and without time delay. The motivation and potential benefits of sensory substitution for force feedback with vibrotactile and auditory displays are discussed. Teleoperator experiments that examined the presentation of basic force information through object contact tasks indicated that operator performance was improved by using the vibrotactile and auditory displays to present force information. Further, the vibrotactile and auditory displays compared favorably to traditional bilateral force feedback. Common manipulation experiments with peg-in-hole tasks of varying complexity were also conducted and showed that when the subjects' view was fully obstructed, the subjects were able to successfully complete the task by using either of the sensory substitution displays. Sensory substitution was also tested in the presence of a 3 sec time delay and significantly improved performance without instabilities.

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