Handheld and wearable devices frequently engage users with simple haptic feedback, such as alerting, shaking, and pulsating. Here we explored intermanual apparent tactile motion—illusory movement between two hands—as a means to enrich such feedback. A series of psychophysical experiments determined the control space for generating smooth and consistent motion across the hands while users held the device. Experiment 1 calibrated the system and showed that vibrotactile detection thresholds decreased with increasing frequency, with similar trends for both hands. Experiment 2 measured effects of vibrotactile parameters on perceived motion. Both duration and temporal separation of stimuli, but not frequency and amplitude, affected subjective motion ratings. In Experiment 3, subjective ratings showed that stimuli with gradual onsets produced a stronger percept of motion than those with abrupt onsets. Finally, Experiment 4 determined a multimodal factor to match moving visual cues across the screen to moving tactile motion across hands. Our results showed compression of visual duration by the tactile system by a factor of approximately 1/3 at two test frequencies. The results of this research are useful for media designers and developers to generate reliable motion across the hands and integrate haptic motion with visual media.
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