ThimbleSense: A Fingertip-Wearable Tactile Sensor for Grasp Analysis

Edoardo Battaglia, Matteo Bianchi, Alessandro Altobelli, Giorgio Grioli, Manuel G. Catalano, Alessandro Serio, Marco Santello, Antonio Bicchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Accurate measurement of contact forces between hand and grasped objects is crucial to study sensorimotor control during grasp and manipulation. In this work, we introduce ThimbleSense, a prototype of individual-digit wearable force/torque sensor based on the principle of intrinsic tactile sensing. By exploiting the integration of this approach with an active marker-based motion capture system, the proposed device simultaneously measures absolute position and orientation of the fingertip, which in turn yields measurements of contacts and force components expressed in a global reference frame. The main advantage of this approach with respect to more conventional solutions is its versatility. Specifically, ThimbleSense can be used to study grasping and manipulation of a wide variety of objects, while still retaining complete force/torque measurements. Nevertheless, validation of the proposed device is a necessary step before it can be used for experimental purposes. In this work, we present the results of a series of experiments designed to validate the accuracy of ThimbleSense measurements and evaluate the effects of distortion of tactile afferent inputs caused by the device's rigid shells on grasp forces.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7294702
Pages (from-to)121-133
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE Transactions on Haptics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016


  • Contact point
  • Force measurement
  • Grasping
  • Tactile sensors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Science Applications


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