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E. Battaglia, M. G. Catalano, G. Grioli, M. Bianchi, A. Bicchi. “ExoSense: measuring manipulation in a wearable manner”. Submitted to 2017 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA)

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Grasp and manipulation is a complex task, deceivingly simple to accomplish for humans in everyday life, yet challenging when it has to be implemented in a robotic hand. There is a trend in literature to use information obtained from studies on human grasp for the design and control of robotic manipulators. However, the effectiveness of such approach is dependent on the measurement tools that are available for usage with human hands. While there exist many sensing solutions that are designed for this purpose, obtaining a complete set of measurements of forces during grasp interaction is still challenging: in this work we aim to bridge this gap by introducing ExoSense, a passive hand exoskeleton. This device is able to provide position and orientation of the fingertips and, when integrated with the fingertip wearable force/torque sensing system ThimbleSense, a complete characterization of manipulation in terms of generalized forces and position of contacts on each fingertip in a completely wearable and unconstrained manner. After validating the device in terms of endeffector posture measurements and overall accuracy of grasp measurements, we report on a preliminary experiment aiming to show the potentialities of the system to study human internal grasp force variations and for neuroscientific investigation in general.