Palatal Electrotactile Display Outperforms Visual Display in Tongue Motor Learning. Academic Article uri icon


  • Incomplete tongue motor control is a common yet challenging issue among individuals with neurotraumas and neurological disorders. In development of the training protocols, multiple sensory modalities including visual, auditory, and tactile feedback have been employed. However, the effectiveness of each sensory modality in tongue motor learning is still in question. The objective of this study was to test the effectiveness of visual and electrotactile assistance on tongue motor learning, respectively. Eight healthy subjects performed the tongue pointing task, in which they were visually instructed to touch the target on the palate by their tongue tip as accurately as possible. Each subject wore a custom-made dental retainer with 12 electrodes distributed over the palatal area. For visual training, 34 LED array on the computer screen, corresponding to the electrode layout, was turned on with different colors according to the tongue contact. For electrotactile training, electrical stimulation was applied to the tongue with frequencies depending on the distance between the tongue contact and the target, along with a small protrusion on the retainer as an indicator of the target. One baseline session, one training session, and three post-training sessions were conducted over four-day duration. Experimental result showed that the error was decreased after both visual and electrotactile trainings, from 3.56 0.11 (Mean STE) to 1.27 0.16, and from 3.97 0.11 to 0.53 0.19, respectively. The result also showed that electrotactile training leads to stronger retention than visual training, as the improvement was retained as 62.68 1.81% after electrotactile training and 36.59 2.24% after visual training, at 3-day post training.

published proceedings

  • IEEE Trans Neural Syst Rehabil Eng

author list (cited authors)

  • Jiang, B., Kim, J., & Park, H.

citation count

  • 4

complete list of authors

  • Jiang, Bing||Kim, Jeonghee||Park, Hangue

publication date

  • January 2022