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E. Battaglia, M. Bianchi, A. Altobelli, G. Grioli, M. G. Catalano, A. Serio, M. Santello and A. Bicchi: "ThimbleSense: a fingertip-wearable tactile sensor for grasp analysis", IEEE Transactions on Haptics, Jan.-March 1 2016

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Accurate measurement of contact forces between hand and grasped objects is crucial to study sensorimotor control during grasp and manipulation. In this work we introduce ThimbleSense, a prototype of individual-digit wearable force/torque sensor based on the principle of intrinsic tactile sensing. By exploiting the integration of this approach with an active marker-based motion capture system, the proposed device simultaneously measures absolute position and orientation of the fingertip, which in turn yields measurements of contacts and force components expressed in a global reference frame. The main advantage of this approach with respect to more conventional solutions is its versatility. Specifically, ThimbleSense can be used to study grasping and manipulation of a wide variety of objects, while still retaining complete force/torque measurements. Nevertheless, validation of the proposed device is a necessary step before it can be used for experimental purposes. In this work we present the results of a series of experiments designed to validate the accuracy of ThimbleSense measurements and evaluate the effects of distortion of tactile afferent inputs caused by the device’s rigid shells on grasp forces.