Department of Business Development and Technology

A modular wearable finger interface for cutaneous and kinesthetic interaction: control and evaluation

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  • Francesco Chinello
  • Monica Malvezzi, University of Siena, Italy
  • Domenico Prattichizzo, University of Siena, Italy
  • Claudio Pacchierotti, Dept. of Advanced Robotics, Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, Genova, Italy, Italy

In this paper, we present a novel modular wearable interface for haptic interaction and robotic teleoperation. It is composed of a 3-degree-of-freedom (3-DoF) fingertip cutaneous device and a 1-DoF finger kinesthetic exoskeleton, which can be either used together as a single device or separately as two different devices. The 3-DoF fingertip device is composed of a static body and a mobile platform. The mobile platform is capable of making and breaking contact with the finger pulp and reangle to replicate contacts with arbitrarily oriented surfaces. The 1-DoF finger exoskeleton provides kinesthetic force to the proximal and distal interphalangeal finger articulations using one servo motor grounded on the proximal phalanx. This paper presents the wearable device as well as three different position, force, and compliance control schemes, together with their evaluations. We also present three human subjects experiments, enrolling a total of 40 different participants: the first experiment considered a curvature discrimination task, the second one a robot-assisted palpation task, and the third one an immersive experience in virtual reality. Results show that providing cutaneous and kinesthetic feedback through our device significantly improve the performance of all the considered tasks. Moreover, although cutaneous-only feedback shows promising performance, adding kinesthetic feedback improves most metrics. Finally, subjects rank our device as highly wearable, comfortable, and effective.

Original languageEnglish
JournalIEEE Transactions on Industrial Electronics
Pages (from-to)706-716
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020

    Research areas

  • Exoskeletons, DC motors, Kinematics, Haptics interfaces, Force, Task analysis, Performance evaluation, haptic interfaces, DEFORMATION, EXOSKELETON, ENSURE, HAND, FEEDBACK, TELEOPERATION

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