Development of a Piezoelectric Actuated Tactile Stimulation Device for Population Receptive Field Mapping in Human Somatosensory Cortex With fMRI

Jinglong Wu, Chenyu Wang, Luyao Wang, Yutong Wang, Jiajia Yang, Tianyi Yan, Dingjie Suo, Li Wang, Xin Liu, Jian Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Background: Multichannel tactile stimulation devices is need to investigate human finger population receptive field (pRF) characteristics in the primary somatosensory cortex during functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Purpose: To accurately characterize right-hand somatosensory representation based on the Bayesian pRF model. Study Type: Prospective. Population: A water phantom and six healthy participants (four males, mean 23.8 years old). Field Strength/Sequence: T1-weighted magnetization-prepared rapid gradient-echo, T2*-weighted echo planar imaging at 3 T. Assessment: The piezoelectric actuated tactile stimulation device consisted of execution unit and control unit. The output performance of the device was measured by a laser displacement sensor. The effect of the device on images' signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) was measured by phantom experiments. The activation representation arrangement order, relative volumes, and receptive field size of the right hand were assessed during the along-digits and cross-digits paradigms. Statistical Tests: The normality of the data was tested by the Shapiro–Wilk method. A paired-sample t test was performed to test pRF characteristics for all digit pairings. The significance level was set to P = 0.05 (false discovery rate [FDR] correct). Results: Percussive stimulation provided by the piezoelectric actuated tactile stimulator had a stable displacement (2.64 mm) over a wide range of vibration frequencies (0–30 Hz). The output delay of the device was 1 millisecond. The device did not affect the image's SNR (without the device: SNR = 138.24 ± 7.87, temporal SNR [TSNR] = 440.03 ± 52.08. With the device: SNR = 138.06 ± 8.44, TSNR = 438.52 ± 56.38. PSNR = 0.88, PTSNR = 0.46). Representations of right-hand fingers showed the same arrangement order in both experiments (D1–D5 arranged along the central sulcus). However, the relative volumes of D3 showed significant differences in S1 (P = 0.003). Among four subareas, the relative volumes of D3 were significantly different in area 1 (P = 0.047). Data Conclusion: This developed stimulator, through experimental verification, could play a role in pRF mapping exploration. Level of Evidence: 2. Technical Efficacy Stage: 1.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022


  • fMRI
  • piezoelectric actuated
  • population receptive field
  • primary somatosensory cortex
  • tactile stimulation device

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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