Finger Pad Topography beyond Fingerprints: Understanding the Heterogeneity Effect of Finger Topography for Human-Machine Interface Modeling

Changhyun Choi, Yuan Ma (Corresponding Author), Xinyi Li, Xuezhi Ma, M. Cynthia Hipwell (Corresponding Author)

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


With the rapid development of haptic devices, there is an increasing demand to understand finger pad topography under different conditions, especially for investigation of the human-machine interface in surface haptic devices. An accurate description of finger pad topography across scales is essential for the study of the interfaces and could be used to predict the real area of contact and friction force, both of which correlate closely with human tactile perception. However, there has been limited work reporting the heterogeneous topography of finger pads across scales. In this work, we propose a detailed heterogeneous finger topography model based on the surface roughness power spectrum. The analysis showed a significant difference between the topography on ridges and valleys of the fingerprint and that the real contact area estimation could be different by a factor of 3. In addition, a spatial-spectral analysis method is developed to effectively compare topography response to different condition changes. This paper provides insights into finger topography for advanced human-machine interaction interfaces.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3303-3310
Number of pages8
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jan 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • contact mechanics of skin
  • elastoplasticity
  • heterogeneity of skin
  • human-machine interface
  • power spectral analysis
  • real area of contact

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)

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