Haptic environments are user interfaces incorporating a haptic display device, most commonly a point force device such as the PHANToM. Lederman and Klatzky’s Exploratory Procedures work casts doubt on the usability of such devices, as the human haptic system can only perform rapidly and accurately when full hand contact is used rather than a single finger. However, this work has not been extended to virtual objects displayed by point force devices. Usability of multisensory interfaces is even more complex. How does the addition of a force display change performance in a graphical system? This dissertation presents two benchmark tasks for human performance with point force displays. Stimuli were generated using Koenderink’s shape and curvedness scales for smooth quadric surfaces. The first task, psychophysical magnitude estimation of curvature of paraboloid stimuli, was used to analyze the contribution of haptics to a predominantly visual task. Estimates using vision alone made slightly better discriminations than estimates using both senses, although the effect only approached signif-v icance. The second task extended Lederman and Klatzky’s shape recognition work t
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