New Review paper “Haptic Feedback for Microrobotics Applications: A Review” on Frontiers in Robotics and AI

A new article has been published on Frontiers in Robotics and AI.

C. Pacchierotti, S. Scheggi, D. Prattichizzo, S. Misra. “Haptic feedback for microrobotics applications: a review. Frontiers in Robotics and AI, 3(53), 2016.

Screenshot from 2016-09-05 09-15-11

Full article: http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/frobt.2016.00053/full

Paper selected as the “Featured Article” of the 2015 Oct – Dec issue of the IEEE Transactions on Haptics

The paper “Enhancing the Performance of Passive Teleoperation Systems via Cutaneous Feedback” by C. Pacchierotti, A. Tirmizi, G. Bianchini, and D. Prattichizzo has been chosen as the “Featured Article” of the 2015 Oct – Dec IEEE Transactions on Haptics issue!

toh featured

The featured paper can be downloaded from here.

New paper published on Medical & Biological Engineering & Computing “Hand–tool–tissue interaction forces in neurosurgery for haptic rendering”

Haptics provides sensory stimuli that represent the interaction with a virtual or tele-manipulated object, and it is considered a valuable navigation and manipulation tool during tele-operated surgical procedures. Haptic feedback can be provided to the user via cutaneous information and kinesthetic feedback.

 

deviceSensory subtraction removes the kinesthetic component of the haptic feedback, having only the cutaneous component provided to the user. Such a technique guarantees a stable haptic feedback loop, while it keeps the transparency of the tele-operation system high, which means that the system faithfully replicates and render back the user’s directives.

 

figure1This work focuses on checking whether the interaction forces during a bench model neurosurgery operation can lie in the solely cutaneous perception of the human finger pads. If this assumption is found true, it would be possible to exploit sensory subtraction techniques for providing surgeons with feedback from neurosurgery. We measured the forces exerted to surgical tools by three neurosurgeons performing typical actions on a brain phantom, using contact force sensors, whilst the forces exerted by the tools to the phantom tissue were recorded using a load cell placed under the brain phantom box. The measured surgeon-tool contact forces were 0.01 – 3.49 N for the thumb and 0.01 – 6.6 N for index and middle finger, whereas the measured tool- tissue interaction forces were from six to eleven times smaller than the contact forces, i.e., 0.01 – 0.59 N.

 

Fingerprint_detail_on_male_finger_smallThe measurements for the contact forces fit the range of the cutaneous sensitivity for the human finger pad, thus, we can say that, in a tele-operated robotic neurosurgery scenario, it would possible to render forces at the fingertip level by conveying haptic cues solely through the cutaneous channel of the surgeon’s finger pads. This approach would allow high transparency and high stability of the haptic feedback loop in a tele-operation system.

 

PDF: http://sirslab.dii.unisi.it/papers/2015/Aggravi.MBEC.2015.Surgeons.pdf

M. Aggravi, E. De Momi, F. DiMeco, F. Cardinale, G. Casaceli, M. Riva, G. Ferrigno, D. Prattichizzo, D.
“Hand-Tool-Tissue Interaction Forces in Neurosurgery for Haptic Rendering.”
Medical & Biological Engineering and Computing, Springer, 2015.
DOI: 10.1007/s11517-015-1439-8

IEEE Transactions on Haptics, Issue 4, 2015, features 3 articles from our lab!

Three out of the fifteen articles published in the new issue of the IEEE Transactions on Haptics are from our group!

Check them out.

  • D. Prattichizzo, L. Meli, M. Malvezzi. “Digital Handwriting with a Finger or a Stylus: a Biomechanical Comparison”. IEEE Transactions on Haptics, 8(4):356-370, 2015. details doi pdf
 The benchmark: writing on a tablet with the finger and with the stylus. Which solution is better? From: D. Prattichizzo et al., 2015.
The benchmark: writing on a tablet with the finger and with the stylus. Which solution is better?
From: D. Prattichizzo et al., 2015.
  • C. Pacchierotti, D. Prattichizzo, K. J. Kuchenbecker. “Displaying sensed tactile cues with a fingertip haptic device”. IEEE Transactions on Haptics. 8(4):384 – 396, 2015.details doi pdf
Cutaneous algorithm demonstration: the contact deformations sensed by the BioTac are provided to the human subjects through the 3-DoF cutaneous device. From: C. Pacchierotti et al., 2015a.
Cutaneous algorithm demonstration: the contact deformations sensed by the BioTac are provided to the human subjects through our 3-DoF cutaneous device.
From: C. Pacchierotti et al., 2015a.
  • C. Pacchierotti, A. Tirmizi, G. Bianchini, D. Prattichizzo. “Enhancing the performance of passive teleoperation systems via cutaneous feedback”. IEEE Transactions on Haptics, 8(4):397 – 409, 2015. details doi pdf
Our approach modifies a classic time-domain passivity control strategy by adding the opportunity of providing cutaneous feedback when the required force cannot be safely conveyed using kinesthetic feedback. From: C. Pacchierotti et al., 2015b.
The proposed approach modifies a classic time-domain passivity control strategy by adding the opportunity of providing cutaneous feedback when the required force cannot be safely conveyed using kinesthetic feedback.
From: C. Pacchierotti et al., 2015b.

New paper published on IEEE Transactions on Haptics: “Digital Handwriting with a Finger or a Stylus: a Biomechanical Comparison”

The human hand is highly versatile and easily adaptable to a variety of manipulation tasks, exposing flexible solutions to the needs of control. In daily life, humans beings are, apparently without effort, able to generate complex and elegant movements of the hand and fingers, such as typing on keyboards, playing a musical instrument, or writing. 

In this paper we focus on the analysis of human hand movements during handwriting tasks, a subject which has been studied for many decades.

Screen shot 2015-12-15 at 1.04.49 PM

We present for the first time, at the best of our knowledge, a methodological approach based on the biomechanics of the human hand to compare two different input methods, i.e., the finger and the stylus, in digital handwriting tasks.

Performance of two input methods is evaluated and compared in terms of manipulability indexes in the task space, i.e., the ratio between a measure of performance (displacement, velocity, force in the task space) and a measure of effort in the input/joint space.

Screen shot 2015-12-15 at 1.14.02 PMBeside the mathematical analysis based on a biomechanical model of the hand, two experiments are presented, in which subjects were asked to write on a touchscreen using either their index finger, or a stylus.

The results (both analytical and experimental) assess that writing with the finger is more suitable for performing large, but not very accurate motions, while writing with the stylus leads to a higher precision and more isotropic motion performance.

PDF: http://sirslab.dii.unisi.it/papers/2015/Prattichizzo.TOH.2015.Handwriting.pdf

D. Prattichizzo, L. Meli, and M. Malvezzi.
“Digital Handwriting with a Finger or a Stylus: a Biomechanical Comparison.”
IEEE Transactions on Haptics, 2015.
DOI: 10.1109/TOH.2015.2434812

New paper published on The International Journal of Robotics Research: “Cutaneous haptic feedback to ensure the stability of robotic teleoperation systems”

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.

Screenshot from 2015-10-20 09:57:36

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.

Pacchierotti2015-IJRR

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.

Video: https://youtu.be/mQ8AYmNUBFo
PDF: http://sirslab.dii.unisi.it/papers/2015/Pacchierotti.IJRR.2015.Subtraction.pdf

C. Pacchierotti, L. Meli, F. Chinello, M. Malvezzi, D. Prattichizzo. Cutaneous haptic feedback to ensure the stability of robotic teleoperation systems. International Journal of Robotics Research, 2015. doi: 10.1177/0278364915603135.pdf

Human Guidance with Wearable Haptics: the research so far in our SIRSLab

This post summarises our contributions to the research on human guidance with wearable devices. One of our recent work “Evaluation of a predictive approach in steering the human locomotion via haptic feedback”, [1], has been recently accepted for publication in the proceedings of 2015 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS 2015). In this work, we consider the human as an unicycle robot, following the work by Arechavaleta [2], and we exploit a path following control [3] for generating appropriate haptic (vibrotactile) cues to be applied on the user. The task here is to follow some ideal lines, with no knowledge of them. This is just one examples of the application of the wearable haptics – in this case, with vibrotactile feedack – for human guidance.

This paper is an evolution of one of our previous works [4], in which we were guiding the human considering her/him inside a mixed human-robot formation, where the role of leader and follower was, in some sense, blended. Here, vibrotactile cues were used to tune the position of the human user, so that she/he was maintaining a rigid formation w.r.t. to the robot, while it was moving toward a target.

We exploited also the idea of considering the human as leader of a mixed human-robot team [5, 6]. In these cases, the haptic feedback was used to notify the user about violations of formation constraints, so that she/he could modify her/his pace and maintain the formation.

Most of our results have received funding from the European Union Seventh Framework Programme FP7/2007-2013 under grant agreement n. 601165 of the project “WEARHAP – WEARable HAPtics for humans and robots” and under grant agreement n. 288917 of the project “DALi – Devices for Assisted Living”, and from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme – Societal Challenge 1 (DG CONNECT/H) under grant agreement n. 643644 of the project “ACANTO: A CyberphysicAl social NeTwOrk using robot friends”.

Publications/Videos/pdf also available on our website (sirslab.dii.unisi.it)

[1] M. Aggravi, S. Scheggi, and D. Prattichizzo – Evaluation of a predictive approach in steering the human locomotion via haptic feedback – IROS, 2015 [pdf]

[2] G. Arechavaleta, J.-P. Laumond, H. Hicheur, and A. Berthoz – On the nonholonomic nature of human locomotion – Autonomous Robots, 2008

[3] C. Canudas De Wit, G. Bastin, and B. Siciliano – Theory of robot control – Chapter 9 Nonlinear Feedback Control

[4] S. Scheggi, M. Aggravi, F. Morbidi, and D. Prattichizzo – Cooperative human-robot haptic navigation – ICRA, 2014, [pdf]

[5] S. Scheggi, F. Morbidi, and D. Prattichizzo. Human-robot formation control via visual and vibrotactile haptic feedback – IEEE Trans. on Haptics, 2014, [pdf]

[6] S. Scheggi, F. Chinello, D. Prattichizzo. Vibrotactile haptic feedback for human-robot interaction in leader-follower tasks. In Proc. ACM Int. Conf. on PErvasive Technologies Related to Assistive Environments, PETRA ’12, Pages 1-4, 2012, [pdf]