The human hand works in a perfect accord with the brain for an efficient exploration of physical world and objects perception according to man’s purposes. During the haptic sensing, the fingertip slides on a surface activating the receptors located under the skin allowing the brain to identify objects and information about their properties. In fact, in order to create the contact, the hand must exercise a force causing the fingertip to deform, generating a stress-state that contains the information on the object in contact. The information concerning the object surface is represented by the vibrations induced by the friction between the skin and the rubbed object in contact. The mechanoreceptors have the key role of transducing the stress state into an electrical impulse conveyed to the brain. Nevertheless, the vibration spectra induced by the finger/surface rubbing and the consequent activation of the mechanoreceptors on the skin were rarely investigated. A clear understanding of the mechanisms of the tactile sense is basilar for manifold applications, like the development of artificial tactile sensors for intelligent prostheses or robotic assistants, and for the ergonomics. In this context, it is fundamental to realize appropriate dynamic analysis of the signals that characterize the characteristics of the contact. In other words, it is necessary to investigate the vibration spectrum measured on the finger, in order to identify the frequency range of measured spectra (that should correspond to the expected one given by the mechanoreceptors activation frequency range [2–500 Hertz]). An experimental set-up is developed to recover the contact global dynamics by detecting the contact force and the induced vibrations; the bench test has been designed to guarantee the measurements reproducibility and, at cause of the low amplitude of the vibrations of interest, to perform measurements without introducing external noise. In particular, in this paper, the interest will be focused on the changes shown in vibration spectra with respect to variations of the scanning velocity and surface roughness characteristics.

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