Technologies

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Tactile Sensor for Robotic Arm

Technology Overview

Current conventional tactile sensors are not adequate to emulate artificial skin in terms of sensitivity and ability to cover large curved surfaces, for applications such as robotic prostheses and industrial collaborative robots. To address this challenge, the technology provider developed a novel tactile sensor that closely emulates the human sense of touch and locating pressure over a large surface, thus reproducing human mechanoreceptors activity. The innovative design with lightness and adaptability to large curved surfaces, can be used to cover robotic prostheses and / or collaborative robotic arms, as an artificial skin. The current patent includes the sensor manufacturing process, a robotic arm coated by this sensor, and a method for its operation. The technology provider is looking for collaborators for co-development and integration within industrial robots

Technology Features, Specifications and Advantages

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 turn is translated into an optical signal, and transmitted via optical fibre. Compared to conventional 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).

Advantages

  • Determination of the intensity and point of application of a force;
  • Greater sensitivity and width of the surface that can be covered;
  • Covering even curved and relatively wide surfaces;
  • Lightweight, flexible, adaptable to any type of surface;
  • Simple and economical manufacturing thanks to the use of FBG sensors.
  • The use of FBG sensors simplifies the manufacturing process, and increases repeatability.

Potential Applications

An innovative design due to its lightness and adaptability to large curved surfaces, it can cover robotic prostheses and / or collaborative robotic arms, as an artificial skin. The system is flexible thanks to the use of a neural network methodology, overcoming the limitations of wiring.

Industrial application:

  • As a robotic prosthesis covering;
  • Collaborative robotic arm covering;
  • Safety systems in production processes.

Customer Benefit

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. This technology overcomes these limitations: it can cover any type of surface (even large curved surfaces), as it detects the contact point and pressure when a force is applied. The team involved in this project is open for collaborative opportunities, and to further develop the current prototype.

OVERVIEW
Contact Person

Gloria Padmaperuma

Organisation

Knowledge Share - Netval

Technology Category

  • Electronics
  • Infocomm
  • Robotics & Automation
  • Manufacturing
  • Assembly / Automation / Robotics

Technology Readiness Level

Keywords

Robotics, Sensors, Prosthesis, Artificial Skin, Collaborative Robots, Automation