Thesis Project Form

Title (tentative): An embedded wearable tactile sensor for experiments in human grasping and manipulation

Thesis advisor(s): Casadio Maura, Fulvio Mastrogiovanni Giorgio Cannata (, E-mail:
Address: Via Opera Pia 13, 16145 Genova (ITALY) Phone: (+39) 010353 - 2749

Motivation and application domain
We study how people grasp and manipulate common everyday objects, specifically in terms of a number of parameters related to hand motions: e.g., synergies, involved force distributions, grasping locations. We designed a glove provided with advanced tactile technology. This thesis will involve the adaptation and the experimental evaluation of a contact model for the data glove. Expected results include the force distributions on fingertips during the interaction with a number of common objects.

General objectives and main activities
The general objectives of the thesis are:

1. The adaptation of an already developed contact model to the data glove set-up. The model is capable of determining a closed-form analytical solution for the problem of retrieving the 3D shape of the contact given a set of distributed tactile measurements. In the past, the model has been tested on a flat surface; for this work, it is necessary to test it on tactile surfaces similar to human fingertips.

2. To build a data set comprising information related to how humans grasp and manipulate common everyday objects. The dataset will include heterogeneous information, such as tactile data, hand configurations (as detected by a motion capture system or equivalent set-up), etc. This objective requires defining a measurement set-up.

3. To study how people (both healthy and with disabilities) grasp and manipulate a number of common objects. To this aim, the set-up defined to meet objective 2 will be employed.

Training Objectives (technical/analytical tools, experimental methodologies)
Students will learn:

1. How to model haptic information in hand-object interaction.
2. The principles of SW architectures design, specifically in case of heterogeneous data acquisition.
3. Insights and quantitative evaluations about haptic interactions with common everyday objects.

Place(s) where the thesis work will be carried out: the Department of Informatics, Bioengineering, Robotics and Systems Engineering, University of Genoa.

Additional information

Pre-requisite abilities/skills: C/C++ or Python SW development.

Maximum number of students: 2

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