The Design and Characterization of a Flexible Tactile Sensing Array for Robot Skin

Abstract

In this study, a flexible tactile sensing array based on a capacitive mechanism was designed, fabricated, and characterized for sensitive robot skin. A device with 8 × 8 sensing units was composed of top and bottom flexible polyethyleneterephthalate (PET) substrates with copper (Cu) electrodes, a polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) dielectric layer, and a bump contact layer. Four types of microstructures (i.e., pyramids and V-shape grooves) atop a PDMS dielectric layer were well-designed and fabricated to enhance tactile sensitivity. The optimal sensing unit achieved a high sensitivity of 35.9%/N in a force range of 0-1 N. By incorporating a tactile feedback control system, the flexible sensing array as the sensitive skin of a robotic manipulator demonstrated a potential capability of robotic obstacle avoidance.

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