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Assistive Handlebar Based on Tactile Sensors: Control Inputs and Human Factors
Andrés Trujillo-León, 1 Wael Bachta 2 , Julián Castellanos-Ramos 1 , Fernando Vidal-Verdú 1
1  Department of Electronics, Institute of Biomedical Research of Málaga (IBIMA), University of Málaga, 29071 Málaga, Spain;(J.C.-R.);(F.V.-V.)
2  Sorbonne Université, Institut des Systèmes Intelligents et de Robotique UMR 7222 CNRS, ERL INSERM U1150 Agathe, 75005 Paris, France

Published: 30 July 2018 by MDPI in Sensors
MDPI, Volume 18; 10.3390/s18082471
Abstract: Tactile sensors can be used to build human-machine interfaces, for instance in isometric joysticks or handlebars. When used as input sensor device for control, questions arise related to the contact with the human, which involve ergonomic aspects. This paper focuses on the example application of driving a powered wheelchair as attendant. Since other proposals use force and torque sensors as control input variables, this paper explores the relationship between these variables and others obtained from the tactile sensor. For this purpose, a handlebar is instrumented with tactile sensors and a 6-axis force torque sensor. Several experiments are carried out with this handlebar mounted on a wheelchair and also fixed to a table. It is seen that it is possible to obtain variables well correlated with those provided by force and torque sensors. However, it is necessary to contemplate the influence of issues such as the gripping force of the human hand on the sensor or the different kinds of grasps due to different physical constitutions of humans and to the inherent random nature of the grasp. Moreover, it is seen that a first step is necessary where the contact with the hands has to stabilize, and its characteristics and settle time are obtained.
Keywords: human factors, user interface, Assistive Technology, Wheelchairs, tactile sensors, Attendant
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