DEVELOPMENT OF A MODULAR SIMULATED PROSTHESIS AND EVALUATION OF A COMPLIANT GRIP FORCE SENSOR
Grip force sensory feedback is commonly stated as a desirable feature for upper-limb myoelectric prosthetics. Many techniques for non-invasive grip force feedback are being investigated. However, the choice of force sensor, feedback location, and experimental apparatus typically vary between research studies, making it challenging to compare results. A standardized device where individual parameters can be adjusted would allow researchers to evaluate the impact of each variable on results. An example of such a device is a simulated prosthesis. Simulated prosthesis devices enable non-disabled individuals to participate in myoelectric prosthesis research experiments while ensuring consistency in experimental apparatus between participants. We developed a lightweight, modular, and inexpensive simulated myoelectric prosthesis capable of delivering sensory feedback to fingertips and proximal forearm. We integrated mechanotactile feedback devices to deliver modality matched feedback to the forearm and somatotopically matched feedback to the fingertips. We compared a commercial force sensor before and after being encapsulated within a compliant material under a variety of loading conditions. The encapsulated force sensor outperformed the standard sensor in all non-ideal loading conditions by a large margin. The use of this encapsulation technique dramatically increases accuracy in sensor readings when loading conditions differ from calibration conditions. This device will help facilitate myoelectric research by providing a consistent experimental apparatus between non-disabled participants for various control and feedback-oriented studies.