If you ask me to put it simply what the tactile system is, then we can say that it is a sense of touch. This is how we usually feel something in our body. Also, this is how we usually identify and discriminate between various items that we touch e.g., a pen or a pencil, something that is round against something square.
The tactile systems are regarded to be a part of our nervous system, and they enable us to perceive, sense, organise, and integrate information via our skin receptors. There are various products that can help blind people to make out different things by using their touch sense.
The tactile system is actually considered as the first sensory system that gets developed since the child develops in utero. By coordinating on auditory and vestibular input present within the womb, the foetus will develop a functioning sensory system.
After the child takes birth, the infant starts experiencing new tactile sensations while bathing. As infants grow and develop, they will be exposed to a variety of new tactile sensations that will aid in the development of a functional sensory system and teach them about their surroundings.
Different tactile sensations can range from light touching to deep pressure, to certain pain and temperature, traction, and also the different tactile qualities of various objects around us.
Because there exists a relationship between the tactile system and also our emotional centres in our brain, we can relate numerous tactile experiences as enjoyable or not so delightful based on our past expectations and experiences.
This is also because our tactile sensations will be the major mode of communication between any new born and their caretakers during infancy.
Types of tactile receptors
The epidermis is the skin’s top layer. It protects the dermis by acting as a barrier. The dermis is a thick layer of tissue that constitutes the “real skin” beneath the epidermis. Blood, capillaries, nerves, sweat glands, and hair follicles are all found within it. It is also where you will find all of the distinct touch sensors.
The following are a few different types of tactile receptors:
1. Meissner’s corpuscle
The sensory receptors closest to the skin’s surface are found here. Pressure causes these corpuscles to deform and deliver neurological impulses to the brain. Fine touch, pressure, and vibrations are all sensed by these sensors.
2. Merkel’s disk
Nerve endings at the bottom of the epidermis and in hair follicles have these receptors. They deliver messages to the brain that decode the texture and warmth of objects that are touched. They have a high pain threshold.
3. Ruffini Ending
Any type of skin stretching is detected by these receptors. Temperature and pressure are also detected.
4. Pacinian corpuscle
Deep pressure sensations are detected. Proprioception is greatly aided by these receptors.
5. Krause end bulb
These are susceptible to cold. In fact, they only turn on when they come into contact with something that is below 20°C.
6. Free never endings
These are nerve cell endings that are not specialised in any way. They respond to various types of stimuli, including pressure, temperature, pain, and texture.