A Data-Driven Approach to Remote Tactile Interaction: From a BioTac Sensor to any Fingertip Cutaneous Device

  • Claudio Pacchierotti
  • Domenico Prattichizzo
  • Katherine J. Kuchenbecker
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 8618)


This paper presents a novel approach to remote tactile interaction, wherein a human uses a telerobot to touch a remote environment. The proposed system consists of a BioTac tactile sensor, in charge of registering contact deformations, and a custom cutaneous device, in charge of applying those deformations to the user’s fingertip via a 3-DoF mobile platform. We employ a novel data-driven algorithm to directly map the BioTac’s sensed stimuli to input commands for the cutaneous device’s motors, without using any kind of skin deformation model. We validated the proposed approach by carrying out a remote tactile interaction experiment. Although this work employed a specific cutaneous device, the experimental protocol and algorithm are valid for any similar display.



The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Union Seventh Framework Programme FP7/2007–2013 under grant agreement n\(^\circ \) 270460 of the project “ACTIVE - Active Constraints Technologies for Ill-defined or Volatile Environments” and under grant agreement n\(^\circ \) 601165 of the project “WEARHAP - WEARable HAPtics for humans and robots.” The authors wish to thank Priyanka Shirsat for her help in realizing the cutaneous device.


  1. 1.
    Johansson, R.S., Vallbo, Å.B.: Tactile sensibility in the human hand: relative and absolute densities of four types of mechanoreceptive units in glabrous skin. J. Physiol. 286, 283–300 (1979)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Edin, B.B., Johansson, N.: Skin strain patterns provide kinaesthetic information to the human central nervous system. J. Physiol. 487, 243–251 (1995)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Minamizawa, K., Fukamachi, S., Kajimoto, H., Kawakami, N., Tachi, S.: Gravity grabber: wearable haptic display to present virtual mass sensation. In: Proceedings of the ACM SIGGRAPH Emerging Technologies (2007)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Kuchenbecker, K.J., Ferguson, D., Kutzer, M., Moses, M., Okamura, A.M.: The touch thimble: providing fingertip contact feedback during point-force haptic interaction. In: Proceedings of the IEEE Symposium on Haptic Interfaces for Virtual Environment and Teleoperator Systems, pp. 239–246 (2008)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Prattichizzo, D., Chinello, F., Pacchierotti, C., Malvezzi, M.: Towards wearability in fingertip haptics: a 3-DoF wearable device for cutaneous force feedback. IEEE Trans. Haptics 6, 506–516 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Pacchierotti, C., Chinello, F., Malvezzi, M., Meli, L., Prattichizzo, D.: Two finger grasping simulation with cutaneous and kinesthetic force feedback. In: Isokoski, P., Springare, J. (eds.) EuroHaptics 2012, Part I. LNCS, vol. 7282, pp. 373–382. Springer, Heidelberg (2012) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Prattichizzo, D., Chinello, F., Pacchierotti, C., Minamizawa, K.: RemoTouch: a system for remote touch experience. In: Proceedings of the IEEE International Symposium on Robots and Human Interactive Communications, pp. 676–679 (2010)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Wettels, N., Loeb, G.E.: Haptic feature extraction from a biomimetic tactile sensor: force, contact location and curvature. In: Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Biomimetics, pp. 2471–2478 (2011)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Fishel, J.A., Loeb, G.E.: Sensing tactile microvibrations with the biotaccomparison with human sensitivity. In: Proceedings of the 4th IEEE RAS EMBS International Conference on Biomedical Robotics and Biomechatronics (BioRob), pp. 1122–1127 (2012)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Mount, D.M., Arya, S.: ANN: a library for approximate nearest neighbor searching (2010). https://web.archive.org/web/20131002094044/http://www.cs.umd.edu/~mount/ANN/

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Claudio Pacchierotti
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Domenico Prattichizzo
    • 1
    • 2
  • Katherine J. Kuchenbecker
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Information Engineering and MathematicsUniversity of SienaSienaItaly
  2. 2.Department of Advanced RoboticsIstituto Italiano di TecnologiaGenovaItaly
  3. 3.Department of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics and Department of Computer and Information Science, GRASP LabUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

Personalised recommendations