A preliminary approach to study the behavior of human fingertip at contact via experimental test and numerical model

Maria Laura D'Angelo, Ferdinando Cannella, Mariapaola D'Imperio, Matteo Bianchi


How human fingertip deforms during the interaction with the environment represents a fundamental action that shapes our perception of external world. In this work, we present the proof of concept of an experimental in vivo set up that enables to characterize the mechanical behavior of human fingertip, in terms of contact area, force and a preliminary estimation of pressure contour, while it is put in contact against a flat rigid surface. Experimental outcomes are then compared with the output of a 3D Finite Element Model (FEM) of the human fingerpad, built upon existing validated models. The good agreement between numerical and experimental data suggests the correctness of our procedure for measurement acquisitions and finger modeling. Furthermore, we will also discuss how our experimental data can be profitably used to estimate strain limiting deformation models for tactile rendering, while the here reported 3D FE model has also been profitably employed to investigate hypotheses on human tactile perception.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.21014/acta_imeko.v6i2.393