Tactile Feedback of Prosthetic and Human Hands

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Proceedings of the World Congress on Engineering 2012 Vol II WCE 2012, July 4 - 6, 2012, London, U.K.

Differences in Human and Prosthetic Hand
Based on Tactile Feedback

Prerit Mishra, Hosmane Ramakrishna Venkatesh, and Lasitha Dananjaya Ranawakage, Member, IAENG 

Abstract— In this paper we consider the use of tactile
sensors to propose a better prosthetic hand from the given
two types of artificial hands based upon the analysis of their force profiles when they are used to activate a push
button of a mobile phone device. This experiment provides
results which would lead to a possible adaptation of the better prosthetic hand. The results involve the stochastic analysis of the force profiles obtained from the human hand and the two
prosthetic hands.

Index Terms— Dexterity, prosthetics, tactile sensors.


Human dexterity is a vital thing: people are able to grasp
various objects, differentiate between objects, perform
complex tasks, and switch between various actions in
response to changing environments [1]. This is possible
because of the physical structure of our hand (multiple
fingers with multiple degrees of freedom) and also because
of our sophisticated control system which is the brain. In
recent times a lot of research has been conducted to try and create an artificial sense of touch for robots to bestow them with some of the manipulation capabilities that humans
have [2]. These manipulations require a control of forces and motions at the area of contact between the fingers and the
environment which can only be accomplished by touch. The
artificial hands for sociable robotics and prosthetics are
expected to be touched by other people [3]. Because the skin is the main interface during the contact, there arises a need to duplicate humanlike characteristics for artificial skins for safety and social acceptance [4].

Tactile sensing can provide essential information about
properties such as compliance, friction, surface texture and hardness [5]. Tactile sensing is also essential for detecting physical contacts and it can effectively assist humans in
object grasping and manipulation by providing information
about the contact configuration [6]. Due to different shapes of objects, different forces and pressure patterns are generated. Object identification using tactile sensing has been shown to be accurate and quick, mostly in recognition through

material properties [7]. However, emphasis of the researchers in this field has been mainly on analyzing the geometric
Manuscript received April 08, 2012; revised April 16, 2012.
Prerit Mishra is a student at the Faculty of Engineering, National University of Singapore; e-mail: a0091214@nus.edu.sg).
Hosmane Ramakrishna Venkatesh is a student at the Faculty of Engineering,
Lasitha Dananjaya Ranawakage is a student at the Faculty of

ISBN: 978-988-19252-1-3
ISSN: 2078-0958 (Print); ISSN: 2078-0966 (Online)

characteristics due to their sufficiency for highly efficient recognition tasks. Knowledge of these parameters becomes
crucial if robots are to reliably handle unknown objects in
an unstructured environment [8].
Currently prosthetic arms and hands which can be controlled
by electromyography are being developed. Eventually, these
advanced prosthetic devices will be expected to touch and be touched by other people [9]. Although appearance wise the
prosthetic hands are similar to human hands, currently
available prosthetic hands have physical properties that are far from the characteristics of human skins because they are much stiffer [10]. Recent research in prosthetic hands aims at developing innovative cybernetic systems to allow users to

feel an artificial hand as part of their bodies by providing the tactile sensation of a natural hand [11]. Such prostheses...
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