Finite-element modeling of vibrotactile skin sensation

Thursday, May 18, 2017 - 5:30pm

The Pacinian corpuscle (PC) is a mechanoreceptor found within the dermis of skin that responds to high frequency (20-1000 Hz) vibrations. When the surface of skin is vibrated, this vibration is transmitted through the skin to the PC where it deforms the PC tissue and stretches the nerve fiber at the PC’s center, initiating action potentials. PCs are found within clusters in the skin, where multiple PCs branch off of a single nerve and are grouped together. These PCs may have different sizes and shapes and be oriented differently with respect to the skin surface. We have developed a finite-element model of PCs embedded with skin and are looking for a summer student to expand this model to study the PCs within a cluster can respond differently to the same vibration and how this affects the neural output from the cluster. The cluster model can be combined with our neural model of a PC to draw insight into how PC clustering can enhance sensation.