This paper describes the design and calibration of a thimble that measures the forces applied by a user during manipulation of virtual and real objects. Haptic devices benefit from force measurement capabilities at their end-point. However, the heavy weight and cost of force sensors prevent their widespread incorporation in these applications. The design of a lightweight, user-adaptable, and cost-effective thimble with four contact force sensors is described in this paper. The sensors are calibrated before being placed in the thimble to provide normal and tangential forces. Normal forces are exerted directly by the fingertip and thus can be properly measured. Tangential forces are estimated by sensors strategically placed in the thimble sides. Two applications are provided in order to facilitate an evaluation of sensorized thimble performance. These applications focus on: (i) force signal edge detection, which determines task segmentation of virtual object manipulation, and (ii) the development of complex object manipulation models, wherein the mechanical features of a real object are obtained and these features are then reproduced for training by means of virtual object manipulation
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