Validation of a modular and wearable system for tracking fingers movements

Michela Borghetti, Paolo Bellitti, Nicola Francesco Lopomo, Mauro Serpelloni, Emilio Sardini


Supervising manual operations performed by workers in industrial environments is crucial in a smart factory. Indeed, the production of products with superior quality, at higher throughput rates and reduced costs with the support of the Industry 4.0 enabling technologies is based on the strict control of all the resources inside the factory, including workers. This paper shows a protocol for validating a new wearable system for tracking finger movements. The wearable system consists of two measuring modules worn on the thumb and on the index measuring flexion and extension of the proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joint by a stretch sensor and rotation of the proximal phalanx (PP) by an inertial measurement unit. An optical system is used to validate the system by capturing specific finger movements. Four movements that simulate typical tasks and gestures, such as grasp and pinch, were performed to validate the proposed system. The maximum root-mean-square error is 3.7 deg for the roll angle of PP. The resistance changes of the stretch sensors with respect to flexion and extension of PIP joint is 0.47 Ohm/deg. The results are useful for the data interpretation when the system is adopted for monitoring finger movements and gestures.

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