Design and Modeling of a New Type of Tactile Sensor Based on the Deformation of an Elastic Membrane

Document Type : Research Article



This paper presents the design and modeling of a flexible tactile sensor, capable of detecting the 2D surface texture image, contact-force estimation and stiffness of the sensed object. The sensor is made of polymer materials. It consists of a cylindrical chamber for pneumatic actuation and a membrane with a mesa structure. The inner radius of the cylindrical chamber is 2cm and its outer radius is 3cm. The sensing mechanism of the sensor is based on the contact deformation of the membrane. Determination of the contact-force and stiffness of sensed object is based on the amount and variations of out of plane deflections at the center of a circular membrane. The amount of deflection depends on the force or pressure applied.                   Furthermore, the size and shape can be easily tailored to the applications’ requirements. This versatility facilitates the use of the sensor in smart applications where tactile information is used to create system intelligence. The proposed sensor with the potential for further miniaturization is suitable for using in medical applications, especially in minimally invasive surgery (MIS).


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