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Digital archive of theses discussed at the University of Pisa


Thesis etd-06282022-131244

Thesis type
Tesi di dottorato di ricerca
Thesis title
Wearable Haptics for Advanced Human Machine Interaction
Academic discipline
Course of study
tutor Prof. Bianchi, Matteo
tutor Dott. Catalano, Manuel Giuseppe
tutor Prof. Bicchi, Antonio
  • Autonomous Blind Navigation
  • Force Feedback
  • Human Machine Interaction
  • Prosthesis
  • Rehabilitation
  • Wearable Haptic
Graduation session start date
Release date
The most fascinated human characteristics. Unfortunately, this incredible system can suffer from irreversible injuries that prevent the effective implementation of capacity to interact and perceive the environment through the senses is one of natural sensory motor capabilities. Among the most severe cases it is worth mentioning the upper and lower extremity amputation and blindness.
In the last decades, the technological advancements of wearable haptic devices are providing a real alternative
to restore some function of a defective sensory organ. However, despite the promising results, the effective translation of these technologies in real-world applications is still limited. One of the causes for this scarce acceptance is related to the limited involvement of real users in the conceptual and design phases, but only in the final test of the device. Notwithstanding such tendency is changing, we are still far from
systems designed for, and hence usable by, real people with real needs. This thesis proposes different wearable haptic solutions aim to satisfy users needs with the ultimate goal to be used in real life. The central idea of this work is to reverese the
standard paradigm working towards a user-centred approach since the first phase of design more than the experimental validation. The feedback technologies here presented, are developed based on users’s requirements acquired during focus group, interview
and multiple sections of experiment. The device are characterized from a mechanical and psychophysical point of view, and the effectiveness of the stimuli provided were tested in multiple applications, from navigation for visually impaired people to force feedback for upper limb loss participants. Results show compelling improvements in term of efficiency, prosthesis control (especially during grasp actions) and quality of
life, confirming that sensory substitution devices could be the key not only to improve the prosthesis acceptance and embodiment but also a valid tool for human -machine interaction training and rehabilitation system.