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Issue No. 02 - April-June (2014 vol. 7)
ISSN: 1939-1412
pp: 191-202
Ruben D. Ponce Wong , Mech. & Aerosp. Eng. program, Arizona State Univ., Tempe, AZ, USA
Randall B. Hellman , Mech. & Aerosp. Eng. program, Arizona State Univ., Tempe, AZ, USA
Veronica J. Santos , Mech. & Aerosp. Eng. program, Arizona State Univ., Tempe, AZ, USA
Upper-limb amputees rely primarily on visual feedback when using their prostheses to interact with others or objects in their environment. A constant reliance upon visual feedback can be mentally exhausting and does not suffice for many activities when line-of-sight is unavailable. Upper-limb amputees could greatly benefit from the ability to perceive edges, one of the most salient features of 3D shape, through touch alone. We present an approach for estimating edge orientation with respect to an artificial fingertip through haptic exploration using a multimodal tactile sensor on a robot hand. Key parameters from the tactile signals for each of four exploratory procedures were used as inputs to a support vector regression model. Edge orientation angles ranging from -90 to 90 degrees were estimated with an 85-input model having an R 2 of 0.99 and RMS error of 5.08 degrees. Electrode impedance signals provided the most useful inputs by encoding spatially asymmetric skin deformation across the entire fingertip. Interestingly, sensor regions that were not in direct contact with the stimulus provided particularly useful information. Methods described here could pave the way for semi-autonomous capabilities in prosthetic or robotic hands during haptic exploration, especially when visual feedback is unavailable.
Electrodes, Skin, Fluids, Haptic interfaces, Visualization, Tactile sensors

R. D. Ponce Wong, R. B. Hellman and V. J. Santos, "Spatial Asymmetry in Tactile Sensor Skin Deformation Aids Perception of Edge Orientation During Haptic Exploration," in IEEE Transactions on Haptics, vol. 7, no. 2, pp. 191-202, 2014.
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