TitleThimbleSense: a fingertip-wearable tactile sensor for grasp analysis
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsBattaglia, E, Bianchi, M, Altobelli, A, Grioli, G, Catalano, MG, Serio, A, Santello, M, Bicchi, A
JournalIEEE Transactions on Haptics
Date Published03/2016
KeywordsHaptics, Robotics

Accurate measurement of contact forces between hand and grasped objects is crucial to study sensorimotor control during grasp and manipulation. In this work we introduce ThimbleSense, a prototype of individual-digit wearable force/torque sensor based on the principle of intrinsic tactile sensing. By exploiting the integration of this approach with an active marker-based motion capture system, the proposed device simultaneously measures absolute position and orientation of the fingertip, which in turn yields measurements of contacts and force components expressed in a global reference frame. The main advantage of this approach with respect to more conventional solutions is its versatility. Specifically, ThimbleSense can be used to study grasping and manipulation of a wide variety of objects, while still retaining complete force/torque measurements. Nevertheless, validation of the proposed device is a necessary step before it can be used for experimental purposes. In this work we present the results of a series of experiments designed to validate the accuracy of ThimbleSense measurements and evaluate the effects of distortion of tactile afferent inputs caused by the device’s rigid shells on grasp forces.

This work was partially supported by the European Community funded projects WEARHAP, PACMAN and SOMA (contracts 601165, 600918 and 645599 respectively), by the ERC Advanced Grant no. 291166 SoftHands
Refereed DesignationRefereed
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