In the next future Virtual Reality technologies will allow the dramatic reduction of the development time of “soft products”, like textiles, household papers and car interiors, making possible the subjective assessment of their fine mechanical properties, through the realistic rendering of the visual and haptic sensations arising during the physical interaction of these objects with the human hand. This paper deals with the development issues of a complete haptic interface, able to allow the simultaneous generation on the human hand of both kinesthetic and tactile stimulations. The device has been conceived for the haptic rendering of textiles and is composed by a multipoint force feedback device, in charge of generating arbitrary resultant forces on the index and thumb fingertips, and by two independent tactile arrays, in charge of generating time and spatially distributed tactile stimulations on the palmar surface of the two fingertips. After a brief discussion of the reference configuration selected for the whole haptic interface, it has been reported the functionalities, architecture and performances of the realized force feedback device, hosting the tactile arrays. Then the papers focuses on the development issues of a suitable tactile array, discussing its general requirements and the selected architecture. Finally the technical solutions selected for the implementation of its main components and their experimental evaluations are reported.

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