This paper describes the results of a series of forced choice design experiments investigating the discrimination of material properties using a PHANToM haptic device. Research has shown that the PHANToM is effective at displaying graphical information to blind people, but the techniques used so far have been very simple. Our experiments showed that subjects' discrimination of friction was significantly better than that of stiffness or the spatial period of sinusoidal textures, over the range of stimuli investigated. Thus, it is proposed that graphical data could be made more easily accessible to blind users by scaling the data values to friction rather than shape or size, as in traditional bar charts.
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