2013 Volume 26 Issue 3 Pages 110-116
Investigations of human motor control using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) are increasingly receiving attention, with applications in fields such as motor learning and rehabilitation. In these neuroscience studies, force and position sensors are used to control haptic devices and safely interact with the human motion in an MR environment. However, conventional force sensors such as strain gauges are known to cause electromagnetic interference originating from electrical cables, transducers, and electronics. Light transmission through optical fibers is one alternative that avoids these problems. Since optical fibers do not produce electromagnetic noise, they can be used in an MR environment without electromagnetic interference. In this paper, we propose a novel design of an MRI-compatible grasping force sensor based on these principles. The sensor structure was designed to fit into an MRI scanner with its inclined double parallel mechanism, and was specifically adapted to precision grip tasks. This paper presents the sensor design and preliminary characterization in a non-MR environment.