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Virtual switch human-machine interface using fingernail touch sensors

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2 Author(s)
Mascaro, S. ; Dept. of Mech. Eng., MIT, Cambridge, MA, USA ; Asada, H.H.

A novel human-machine interface using wearable sensors is presented. Fingernail sensors that detect touch forces at the fingertip are used as a means to acquire human intentions of pressing buttons and switches. The sensor is worn on the fingernail (and looks like an ornamental fingernail). Combined with a magnetic tracker detecting the position of the human hand, it identifies which switch the human wishes to push and when the switch has been pushed. This allows traditional physical switches, embedded in a wall, control panel, etc., to be replaced by “virtual switches” that contain no electrical circuits or mechanical parts, but are merely pictures showing the location of the switch. In the virtual switch system, the location and functionality of switches are determined by software and can thereby be changed flexibly depending on the progress of task performance, environmental conditions, and context. The virtual switch method is combined with a “hyper manual” that stores task-procedure and operational information on a computer. Monitoring the human task performance allows the digital hyper manual to better guide the human, detect errors, and provide a safer environment

Published in:

Robotics and Automation, 1999. Proceedings. 1999 IEEE International Conference on  (Volume:4 )

Date of Conference:

1999

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