Demonstrating Preemptive Action

Accelerating Human Action by Electrical Muscle Stimulation

In this demonstration we enable preemptive force-feedback systems to speed up human reaction time without fully compromising the user’s sense of agency. Typically these haptic systems speed up human reaction time by means of electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) or mechanical actuation (exoskeletons), which unfortunately, completely remove the users sense of agency. We address this by actuating the user’s body, using EMS, within a particular time window (160 ms after visual stimulus), which we found to speed up reaction time by 80 ms, while retaining a sense of agency. Here, we demonstrate this at the example of two applications: (1) taking a picture of a high-speed moving object in mid-flight, or (2) hit baseball with a toy gun.

This work has been done in cooperation with Dr. Shunichi Kasahara from Sony CSL.



Jun Nishida, Shunichi Kasahara, and Pedro Lopes. 2019. Preemptive Reaction: Accelerating Human Reaction using Electrical Muscle Stimulation Without Compromising Agency. In Proceedings of SIGGRAPH ’19 Emerging Technologies, Los Angeles, CA, USA, July 28 – August 01, 2019, 2 pages. (PDF) (Laval Virtual Grand Prize)