Tactile sensor emulates the human sense of touch in sensing and locating a pressure over a large surface, reproducing human mechanoreceptors activity. The current patent includes the sensor manufacturing process, a robotic arm coated by this sensor, and a method for its operation.

Innovative for its lightness and adaptability to large curved surfaces, it can cover robotic prostheses and / or collaborative robotic arms, as an artificial skin.

Patent Status

SUBMITTED

Priority Number

102019000003657

Priority Date

13/03/2019

License

INTERNATIONAL

Problem

Tactile sensors are not adequate to emulate artificial skin in terms of sensitivity and ability to cover large curved surfaces, such as robotic prostheses and industrial collaborative robots.

Current Technology Limits

Modern robots show increased mobility and flexibility compared to traditional robots; additionally they are equipped with sensors. However, the tactile sensors available are unable to cover large curved surfaces, and do not provide adequate sensitivity. The present device overcomes these limitations: it can cover any type of surface (even large curved surfaces), and it detects contact point and pressure when a force is applied.

Killer Application

The tactile sensor enables the robotic prosthetic coating and mechanical limbs coating for collaborative robots. The system is flexible thanks to the use of a neural network methodology, overcoming the limitations of wiring.

Our Technology and Solutions

The tactile sensor consists of a silicone rubber coating with an optical fibre, which connects Fibre Bragg Grating (FBG) sensors following a continuous path.

The coating, less than 10 mm thick, is subject to deformations when a force is applied. The stress generated is transferred to the FBG sensors, which in turns are translating this into optical signal, carried by the optical fibre.

Compared to the developed tactile sensors, this sensor mimics the human sense of touch in terms of flexibility, deformation and sensitivity, it is able to perceive and localize pressure over a large surface even curved (up to 90 cm2). The use of FBG sensors facilitates the manufacturing process and at the same time ensures measurement repeatability and accuracy.

Advantages

The tactile sensor is light and flexible, adaptable to any type of surface covering large curved areas. The main advantage is represented by the perceptive sensitivity – ability to determine pressure and point of contact for an applied force.

The use of FBG sensors simplifies the manufacturing process, and increases repeatability.

Roadmap

The invention has been implemented on a robotic arm, fully designed by the research group, but it can be easily integrated on industrial robots with the aim to add sensorial capability.

  • 3 months: real-time demonstration of the force measurement and of the contact point location
  • 6 months: demonstration of multi-touch capability
  • 9 months: integration and demonstration using a commercial industrial robotic arm
  • 12 months: technology ready for pre-market certification
Review the Technology
TRL 1
TRL 2
TRL 3
TRL 4
TRL 5
TRL 6
TRL 7
TRL 8
TRL 9

TRL

Team

Menu