Effect of haptic supplementation on postural stabilization: A comparison of fixed and mobile support conditions

  • Albertsen Inke Marie
  • Temprado Jean Jacques
  • Berton Eric

  • Postural Stability
  • Haptic Information
  • Stick
  • Light Grip


It is well known in the literature of haptic supplementation that a "light touch" (LT) with the index finger on a stable surface increases postural stability. In view of potential application in the domain of mobility aids, it should however be demonstrated that haptic supplementation is effective even when provided by an unstable stick support. The present study aimed to explore the stabilizing effect of a three-digit "light grip" (LG) of different supports (fixed or mobile stick) in young people. Eleven participants (M = 25.9 years) were tested in an upright standing task in six experimental conditions in which the mobility of the given support and its resistance in opposite direction to the body movement were manipulated. The RMS variability and the range of postural oscillations were measured. The results confirmed that the stabilizing effect of haptic supplementation is independent from the nature of the support (fixed or mobile) when sufficiently large sway-related contact forces on the fingers are provided. Future applications of this "mobile stick paradigm" to complex situations while targeting different groups of participants may help to approach everyday life situations in which an informational stick could potentially be of assistance to gain stability and mobility.