Upper limb robotic prosthetic devices currently lack adequate sensory feedback, contributing to a high rejection rate. Incorporating affective sensory feedback into these devices reduces phantom limb pain and increases control and acceptance. To address the lack of sensory feedback we present the B:Ionic glove, wearable over a robotic hand which contains sensing, computation and actuation on board. It uses shape memory alloy (SMA) actuators integrated into an armband to gently squeeze the user’s arm when pressure is sensed in novel electro-fluidic fingertip sensors and decoded through soft matter logic. We found that a circular electro-fluidic sensor cavity generated the most sensitive fingertip sensor and considered a computational configuration to convey different information from robot to user. A user study was conducted to characterise the tactile interaction capabilities of the device. No significant difference was found between the skin sensitivity threshold of participants’ lower and upper arm. They found it easier to distinguish stimulation locations than strengths. Finally, we demonstrate a proof-of-concept of the complete device, illustrating how it could be used to grip an object, solely from the affective tactile feedback provided by the B:Ionic glove. The B:Ionic glove is a step towards the integration of natural, soft sensory feedback into robotic prosthetic devices.
Original languageEnglish
Article number9372790
Pages (from-to)3311-3316
Number of pages6
JournalIEEE Robotics and Automation Letters
Issue number2
Early online date10 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021


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