Elastomer-Based Touch Sensor: Visualization of Tactile Pressure Distribution
This paper presents an elastomer-based tactile sensor that can sense the tactile information in the form of pressure distribution. Our proposed sensor uses a piece of coated elastomer with thin conical pins underneath as the touch medium. The elastomer consists of 91 pins arranged in a honeycomb pattern, each pin can be regarded as a tactile sensing element. They are spaced at 1.5 mm in x and y direction. Each tactile element transfers the applied pressure value into a circular image pattern which can be captured by a camera placed at the end of the sensor structure. The applied pressure over the sensing array can be computed by processing the area of each sensing element. MATLAB is used to process the received images relating the applied pressure to the activated pixels in each circular pattern of the tactile element, and further visualizing the pressure distribution on a reconstructed surface of the sensor. This paper presents the development principle and fabrication process of the proposed sensor. The experimental results have proven the viability of the sensing concept; the prototype sensor can effectively detect single-point touch caused by objects with different dimensions and multi-point touch interactions with a spacing of more than 2.5 mm.
KeywordsTactile sensor Elastomer-based
This work was supported in part by the EPSRC National Centre for Nuclear Robotics project (EP/R02572X/1), the Innovate UK WormBot project (104059) and the Innovate UK project iGrasp (103676).
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