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M. L. D’Angelo, F. Cannella, M. Bianchi, M. D’Imperio, E. Battaglia at al.: " An Integrated Approach to Characterize the Behavior of a Human Finger-tip in Contact with a Silica Window ", IEEE Transactions on Haptics, in press

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Understanding the mechanisms of human tactual perception represents a challenging task in haptics and humanoid robotics. A classic approach to tackle this issue is to accurately and exhaustively characterize the mechanical behaviour of human fingertip. The output of this characterization can then be exploited to drive the design of numerical models, which can be used to investigate in depth the mechanisms of human sensing. In this work, we present a novel integrated measurement technique and experimental set up for in vivo characterization of the deformation of the human fingertip at contact, in terms of contact area, force, deformation and pressure distribution. The device presented here compresses the participant’s fingertip against a flat surface, while the aforementioned  measurements are acquired and experimental parameters such as velocity, finger orientation and displacement (indentation) controlled. Experimental outcomes are then compared and integrated with the output of a 3D finite element (FE) model of the human fingertip, built upon existing validated models. The agreement  between numerical and experimental data represents a validation for our approach.