IEEE Transactions on Haptics

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From the July-September 2017 issue

A 3-RSR Haptic Wearable Device for Rendering Fingertip Contact Forces

By Daniele Leonardis, Massimiliano Solazzi, Ilaria Bortone, and Antonio Frisoli

Free Featured ArticleA novel wearable haptic device for modulating contact forces at the fingertip is presented. Rendering of forces by skin deformation in three degrees of freedom (DoF), with contact—no contact capabilities, was implemented through rigid parallel kinematics. The novel asymmetrical three revolute-spherical-revolute (3-RSR) configuration allowed compact dimensions with minimum encumbrance of the hand workspace. The device was designed to render constant to low frequency deformation of the fingerpad in three DoF, combining light weight with relatively high output forces. A differential method for solving the non-trivial inverse kinematics is proposed and implemented in real time for controlling the device. The first experimental activity evaluated discrimination of different fingerpad stretch directions in a group of five subjects. The second experiment, enrolling 19 subjects, evaluated cutaneous feedback provided in a virtual pick-and-place manipulation task. Stiffness of the fingerpad plus device was measured and used to calibrate the physics of the virtual environment. The third experiment with 10 subjects evaluated interaction forces in a virtual lift-and-hold task. Although with different performance in the two manipulation experiments, overall results show that participants better controlled interaction forces when the cutaneous feedback was active, with significant differences between the visual and visuo-haptic experimental conditions.

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