When wearable haptics meets wearable robotics: The robotic sixth finger to compensate the hand function in subjects with upper limb impairments

IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation 2016


Domenico Prattichizzo (University of Siena, Italy)

Wearable haptics is an emerging research trend that will enable novel forms of communication and cooperation between humans and robots. The literature on wearable haptics has been mainly focused on vibrotactile stimulation and only recently wearable devices conveying richer stimuli, like force vectors, have been proposed. In this keynote, I will introduce design guidelines for wearable haptics and will review our research in this field. When wearable haptics meets wearable robotics the paradigm shift in human-robot cooperation is extraordinary, as it is for the robotic sixth finger, a wearable robot designed for rehabilitating the function of the paretic human hand. The robotic extra finger and the paretic hand act like the two parts of a gripper working together to stabilize the grasp of objects and let the subject, with upper limb impairments, to use both hands in bimanual tasks. The wearable robotic extra finger works together with a wearable haptic device playing the role of a sensorimotor interface augmenting the level of embodiment of the device. This is a case of synergistic use of wearable haptics and wearable robotics to support people with impairments in every day life.


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