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The University of Southampton

Tactile Vibrometer

Tactile Vibrometer

The HVLab Tactile vibrometer was developed through pioneering research in the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research at the University of Southampton. The HVLab Tactile Vibrometer provides computer-controlled measurement of tactile thresholds for vibration stimuli. Threshold measurements may be used to indicate sensorineural dysfunction. The instrument allows tests to be conducted according to ISO 13091-1:2001. 


The HVLab Tactile Vibrometer may be used for the assessment of sensory changes associated with neurological dysfunction. The equipment is used in research, occupation health, clinical and medical practice.
Applications include:


The HVLab Tactile Vibrometer consists of a vibrometer unit with integral force meter, a patient response button, computer interface card, and software.
An electrodynamic vibrator is used to drive a vibrating probe housed within the vibrometer unit. The probe protrudes through a circular hole in a rigid plate. The force exerted by the patient's finger on the surrounding plate is measured using strain gauges and feedback is provided by the force meter. The probe has a counterbalance providing a constant upward force. These features are unique to the HVLab Tactile Vibrometer and ensure maintenance of controlled contact with the source of vibration. The software controls and measures the sinusoidal vibration stimulus. The magnitude of the vibration is increased until the patient depresses the response button. The vibration magnitude is then decreased until the patient releases the response button. An automatic test programme repeats this process a selected number of times to establish threshold levels for perception of different frequencies of vibration. The technique is similar to that used by automatic recording audiometers.

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