This paper describes the design, fabrication, testing, and mathematical modeling of a supported membrane type polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) tactile sensor. Using the designed membrane type sensor (MTS), it is shown that the entire surface of the PVDF film can be employed as a means of detecting the force magnitude and its application point. This is accomplished by utilizing only three sensing elements. Unlike the array type tactile sensors, in which the regions between the neighboring sensing elements are not active, all the surface points of the sensor are practically active in this MTS. A geometric mapping process is introduced, thereby, the loci of the isocharge contours for the three sensing elements are determined by applying force on various points of the sensor surface. In order to form a criterion for the comparison between the experimental findings and the theoretical analysis data, and also to determine the magnitude of the stresses generated in the membrane, finite element modeling is used. The correlation between the theoretical predictions and experimental findings is proven to be reasonable. Potentially, the designed MTS can be incorporated into various medical probes for tactile imaging.
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited