Cutaneous haptic feedback can be used to enhance the performance of robotic teleoperation systems while guaranteeing their safety. Delivering ungrounded cutaneous cues to the human operator conveys in fact information about the forces exerted at the slave side and does not affect the stability of the control loop.
In this work we analyze the feasibility, effectiveness, and implications of providing solely cutaneous feedback in robotic teleoperation.
We carried out two peg-in-hole experiments, both in a virtual environment and in a real (teleoperated) environment. Two novel 3-degree-of-freedom fingertip cutaneous displays deliver a suitable amount of cutaneous feedback at the thumb and index fingers. Results assessed the feasibility and effectiveness of the proposed approach.
Cutaneous feedback was outperformed by full haptic feedback provided by grounded haptic interfaces, but it outperformed conditions providing no force feedback at all. Moreover, cutaneous feedback always kept the system stable, even in the presence of destabilizing factors such as communication delays and hard contacts.