Rendering sense of touch in virtual manipulation is a challenging objective: acceptable dimensions and weight of wearable devices worn at fingertips is quite limited, on the other hand, interaction forces in physical manipulation are relatively high, requiring bigger actuators.

An alternative strategy is to investigate what part of the haptic signal is the most informative for the user, focusing device design on those features and filtering other components that are particularly energy-inefficient for the actuators and focusing device.

Following this line of research, Sant’Anna is developing novel haptic thimbles focused on rendering of tiny but informative tactile sensation, such as contact transients, vibrations and textures.  Soft materials and innovative fabrication techniques are used to obtain tiny and highly wearable prototypes to be used in VR.

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