#IROS2018 Siena goes to Madrid with 7 papers

SIENA GOES TO MADRID – The Siena Robotics Lab #sirslab will be present at #IROS2018 in Madrid with *7 papers* !!! Great work of the whole team and great collaborations with POLIMI, IIT, Aarhus University, CNRS, Kalhifa University Keyo University, Nagoya Institute of Technology. See you in Madrid friends !!!

– Operator awareness in human-robot collaboration through wearable vibrotactile feedback
Andrea Casalino, Costanza Messeri, Maria Pozzi, Andrea Maria Zanchettin , Paolo Rocco, Domenico Prattichizzo

– Combining Wearable Haptics and Augmented Reality: user evaluation using an external camera and the Microsoft HoloLens
Leonardo Meli, Claudio Pacchierotti, Gionata Salvietti, Francesco Chinello, Maurizio Maisto, Alessandro De Luca, Domenico Prattichizzo

– Modeling and Prototyping of an Underactuated Gripper Exploiting Joint Compliance and Modularity
Irfan Hussain, Federico Renda, Muhammad Zubair Iqbal, Monica Malvezzi, Gionata Salvietti, Lakmal Seneviratne, Dongming Gan, Domenico Prattichizzo

– Sensory-motor augmentation of the robot with shared human perception
Ryuya Ishida, Leonardo Meli, Yoshihiro Tanaka, Kouta Minamizawa, Domenico Prattichizzo

– Grasp Stiffness Control in Robotic Hands through Coordinated Optimization of Pose and Joint Stiffness
Virginia Ruiz Garate, Maria Pozzi, Domenico Prattichizzo, Nikos Tsagarakis, Arash Ajoudani

– The Co-Gripper: a Wireless Cooperative Gripper for Safe Human Robot Interaction
Gionata Salvietti, Muhammad Zubair Xuber Iqbal, Irfan Hussain, Domenico Prattichizzo, Monica Malvezzi

– Transparency-optimal passivity layer design for time-domain control of multi-DoF haptic-enabled teleoperation
Olmo Alonso Moreno Franco, Joao Bimbo, Claudio Pacchierotti, Domenico Prattichizzo, Davide Barcelli, Gianni Bianchini


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Haptics – #sirslab paper published on IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters (RA-L)

The hBracelet: a wearable haptic device for the distributed mechanotactile stimulation of the upper limb

Leonardo Meli, Irfan Hussain, Mirko Aurilio, Monica Malvezzi, Marcia K. O’MalleDomenico Prattichizzo.

DOI: 10.1109/LRA.2018.2810958

Abstract.  Haptic interfaces are mechatronic devices designed to render tactile sensations; although they are typically based on robotic manipulators external to the human body, recently, interesting wearable solutions have been presented. Towards a more realistic feeling of virtual and remote environment interactions, we propose a novel wearable skin stretch device for the upper limb called “hBracelet”. It consists of two main parts coupled with a linear actuator. Each part contains two servo actuators that move a belt. The device is capable of providing distributed mechanotactile stimulation on the arm by controlling the tension and the distance of the two belts in contact with the skin. When the motors spin in opposite directions, the belt presses into the user’s arm, while when they spin in the same direction, the belt applies a shear force to the skin. Moreover, the linear actuator exerts longitudinal cues on the arm by moving the two parts of the device. In this work we illustrate the mechanical structure, working principle, and control strategies of the proposed wearable haptic display. Furthermore, we present a qualitative experiment in a teleoperation scenario as a case study to demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed haptic interface and to show how a human can take advantage of multiple haptic stimuli provided at the same time and on the same body area. The results show that the device is capable of successfully providing information about forces acting at the remote site, thus improving the overall telepresence.


A video showing the main concept of the work can be watched at

The pdf of the paper can be downloaded at http://sirslab.dii.unisi.it/papers/2018/Meli18_hBracelet.pdf

The paper can be cited using the following bibtex item

author={L. Meli and I. Hussain and M. Aurilio and M. Malvezzi and M. K. O’Malley and D. Prattichizzo},
journal={IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters},
title={The hBracelet: A Wearable Haptic Device for the Distributed Mechanotactile Stimulation of the Upper Limb},
keywords={Actuators;Belts;Force;Haptic interfaces;Pulleys;Robots;Skin;Haptics and haptic interfaces;human-centered robotics;telerobotics and teleoperation;wearable robots},


This work will be presented at the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA 2018) that is held 21-25 May in Brisbane, Australia.

Grasp Quality Evaluation in Underactuated and Compliant Robotic Hands: New Indexes and New Challenges

The new trend in the design of robotic hands is to make them underactuated and compliant, so that they can safely interact with the enviroment, and adapt to the objects they have to grasp.
Evaluating the grasping capabilities of such type of hands is a challenging task because there is the need of an evaluation method that takes into account i) which forces can be actually controlled by the hand, depending on its actuation system, and ii) the parameters that characterize the contact points such as the friction coefficient and the maximum and minimum applicable contact forces.
To this aim, the work presented in [1] revisits some traditional quality measures developed for multi-fingered, fully actuated hands, and applies them to the case of underactuated hands. Measures based on the wrench space computation, namely the largest minimum resisted wrench, and measures of contact and grasp robustness, namely the Potential Grasp Robustness (PGR) and the Potential Contact Robustness (PCR), are compared through simulated examples. Both types of indexes are found to be suitable for evaluating underactuated grasps in a realistic and coherent way, because they can account for friction constraints and physically achievable contact forces.
Underactuated and compliant hands can adapt to the shape of the objects they have to grasp and tend to perform power grasps, rather than precision grasps. This consideration lead to the work described in [2], where authors demonstrate that the PGR can be applied not only to precision grasps, but also to power grasps.
The workshop entitled “Evaluation and benchmarking of underactuated and soft robotic hands” was held at IROS 2016 to discuss on the possibility of having a common benchmarking framework for assessing the quality of compliant and underactuated manipulation systems, and highlighted that in the community there is a clear need of comparability and reproducibility, not only for soft and underactuated hands, but for general robotic grasping systems.
The posters and the slides that were presented at the workshop are available here.



[1] M. Pozzi, A. M. Sundaram, M. Malvezzi, D. Prattichizzo, and M. A. Roa, “Grasp quality evaluation in underactuated robotic hands,” in Proceedings, IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, 2016. [PDF]

[2] M. Pozzi, M. Malvezzi, and D. Prattichizzo, “On grasp quality measures: Grasp robustness and contact force distribution in underactuated and compliant robotic hands,” IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters, vol. 2, 2017. [Link]

A new perspective paper published on Frontiers on Neurorobotics

A human-robot interaction perspective on assistive and rehabilitation robotics

Philipp Beckerle, Gionata Salvietti, Ramazan Unal, Domenico Prattichizzo, Simone Rossi, Claudio Castellini, Sandra Hirche, Satoshi Endo, Heni Ben Amor, Matei Ciocarlie, Fulvio Mastrogiovanni, Brenna D. Argall and Matteo Bianchi

Abstract Assistive and rehabilitation devices are a promising and challenging field of recent robotics research. Motivated by societal needs such as aging populations, such devices can support motor functionality and subject training. The design, control, sensing and assessment of the devices become more sophisticated due to a human in the loop. This paper gives a human-robot interaction perspective on current issues and opportunities in the field. On the topic of control and machine learning, approaches that support but do not distract subjects are reviewed.  Options to provide sensory user-feedback that are currently missing from robotic devices are outlined. Parallels between device acceptance and affective computing are made. Furthermore, requirements for functional assessment protocols that relate to real-world tasks are discussed. In all topic areas, the design of human-oriented frameworks and methods is dominated by challenges related to the close interaction between the human and robotic device. This paper discusses the aforementioned aspects in order to open up new perspectives for future robotic solutions.
A human-robot interaction perspective on assistive and rehabilitation robotics. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/316735448_A_human-robot_interaction_perspective_on_assistive_and_rehabilitation_robotics

Wearable Haptic Systems for the Fingertip and the Hand: Taxonomy, Review, and Perspectives

Our group has just published a new survey article on the IEEE Transactions on Haptics!

The 23-pages-long manuscript presents a taxonomy and review of wearable haptic systems for the fingertip and the hand, focusing on those systems directly addressing wearability challenges. We also discuss the main technological and design challenges for the development of wearable haptic interfaces, and report on the future perspectives of the field.

This work is the result of a collaboration between my group SIRSLab, the CNRS at Irisa and Inria Rennes (C. Pacchierotti), UPMC (V. Hayward), Inria Chile (S. Sinclair), and SSSA (A. Frisoli and M. Solazzi), in the framework of project WEARHAP.


C. Pacchierotti, S. Sinclair, M. Solazzi, A. Frisoli, V. Hayward, D. Prattichizzo. “Wearable Haptic Systems for the Fingertip and the Hand: Taxonomy, Review, and Perspectives.” IEEE Transactions on Haptics, 2017.

The paper is available from IEEEXplore (Open Access!):

New paper on Transaction on Neural System and Rehabilitation Engineering

While attending at the Consortium Meeting of the EU project SoftPro, we are happy to announce our new paper on the Robotic Sixth Finger appeared in Transaction on Neural System and Rehabilitation Engineering. The paper is part of the Special Issue on Wearable Robotics for Motion Assistance and Rehabilitation.

Compensating Hand Function in Chronic Stroke Patients Through the Robotic Sixth Finger  

G. Salvietti, I. Hussain, D. Cioncoloni, S. Taddei, S. Rossi, D. Prattichizzo

A novel solution to compensate hand grasping abilities is proposed for chronic stroke patients. The goal is to provide the patients with a wearable robotic extra-finger that can be worn on the paretic forearm by means of an elastic band. The proposed prototype, the Robotic Sixth Finger, is a modular articulated device that can adapt its structure to the grasped object shape. The extra-finger and the paretic hand act like the two parts of a gripper cooperatively holding an object. We evaluated the feasibility of the approach with four chronic stroke patients performing a qualitative test, the Frenchay Arm Test. In this proof of concept study, the use of the Robotic Sixth Finger has increased the total score of the patients of 2 points in a 5 points scale. The subjects were able to perform the two grasping tasks included in the test that were not possible without the robotic extra-finger. Adding a robotic opposing finger is a very promising approach that can significantly improve the functional compensation of the chronic stroke patient during everyday life activities.


Paper bibtex file:

Author = {Salvietti, G. and Hussain, I. and Cioncoloni, D. and Taddei, S. and Rossi, S. and Prattichizzo, D.},
Title = {Compensating Hand Function in Chronic Stroke Patients Through the Robotic Sixth Finger},
Journal = {Transaction on Neural System and Rehabilitation Engineering},
Volume = {25},
Number = {2},
Pages = {142–150},
Year = {2017}