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      Wearable Wireless Tactile Display for Virtual Interactions with Soft Bodies

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          We describe here a wearable, wireless, compact, and lightweight tactile display, able to mechanically stimulate the fingertip of users, so as to simulate contact with soft bodies in virtual environments. The device was based on dielectric elastomer actuators, as high-performance electromechanically active polymers. The actuator was arranged at the user’s fingertip, integrated within a plastic case, which also hosted a compact high-voltage circuitry. A custom-made wireless control unit was arranged on the forearm and connected to the display via low-voltage leads. We present the structure of the device and a characterization of it, in terms of electromechanical response and stress relaxation. Furthermore, we present results of a psychophysical test aimed at assessing the ability of the system to generate different levels of force that can be perceived by users.

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          Most cited references 13

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          High-speed electrically actuated elastomers with strain greater than 100%

          Electrical actuators were made from films of dielectric elastomers (such as silicones) coated on both sides with compliant electrode material. When voltage was applied, the resulting electrostatic forces compressed the film in thickness and expanded it in area, producing strains up to 30 to 40%. It is now shown that prestraining the film further improves the performance of these devices. Actuated strains up to 117% were demonstrated with silicone elastomers, and up to 215% with acrylic elastomers using biaxially and uniaxially prestrained films. The strain, pressure, and response time of silicone exceeded those of natural muscle; specific energy densities greatly exceeded those of other field-actuated materials. Because the actuation mechanism is faster than in other high-strain electroactive polymers, this technology may be suitable for diverse applications.
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            Materials science. Stretching dielectric elastomer performance.

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              Towards wearability in fingertip haptics: a 3-DoF wearable device for cutaneous force feedback.

              Wearability will significantly increase the use of haptics in everyday life, as has already happened for audio and video technologies. The literature on wearable haptics is mainly focused on vibrotactile stimulation, and only recently, wearable devices conveying richer stimuli, like force vectors, have been proposed. This paper introduces design guidelines for wearable haptics and presents a novel 3-DoF wearable haptic interface able to apply force vectors directly to the fingertip. It consists of two platforms: a static one, placed on the back of the finger, and a mobile one, responsible for applying forces at the finger pad. The structure of the device resembles that of parallel robots, where the fingertip is placed in between the static and the moving platforms. This work presents the design of the wearable display, along with the quasi-static modeling of the relationship between the applied forces and the platform's orientation and displacement. The device can exert up to 1.5 N, with a maximum platform inclination of 30 degree. To validate the device and verify its effectiveness, a curvature discrimination experiment was carried out: employing the wearable device together with a popular haptic interface improved the performance with respect of employing the haptic interface alone.

                Author and article information

                URI :
                Front Bioeng Biotechnol
                Front Bioeng Biotechnol
                Front. Bioeng. Biotechnol.
                Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                01 September 2014
                : 2
                1School of Engineering and Material Science, Queen Mary University of London , London, UK
                2Research Center “E. Piaggio”, University of Pisa , Pisa, Italy
                Author notes

                Edited by: Carlo Menon, Simon Fraser University, Canada

                Reviewed by: Pablo Varona, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain; Lorenzo Masia, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

                *Correspondence: Federico Carpi, School of Engineering and Materials Science, Queen Mary University of London, Mile End Road, London E1 4NS, UK e-mail: f.carpi@

                This article was submitted to Bionics and Biomimetics, a section of the journal Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology.

                Copyright © 2014 Frediani, Mazzei, De Rossi and Carpi.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                Page count
                Figures: 10, Tables: 0, Equations: 1, References: 23, Pages: 7, Words: 4920
                Bioengineering and Biotechnology
                Original Research


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