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Design and fabrication of a thin and soft tactile force sensor array based on conductive rubber

Xuefeng Zhang (State Key Laboratory for Mechanical Manufacturing Systems Engineering, Xi'an Jiaotong University, Xi'an, China)
Yulong Zhao (State Key Laboratory for Mechanical Manufacturing Systems Engineering, Xi'an Jiaotong University, Xi'an, China)
Xuelei Zhang (State Key Laboratory for Mechanical Manufacturing Systems Engineering, Xi'an Jiaotong University, Xi'an, China)

Sensor Review

ISSN: 0260-2288

Article publication date: 7 September 2012

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide a thin tactile force sensor array based on conductive rubber and to offer descriptions of the sensor design, fabrication and test.

Design/methodology/approach

The sensor array consists of a sandwich structure. Sensing elements are distributed discretely in the sensor. Each sensing element has two electrodes and a piece of conductive rubber with piezoresistive property. The electrodes, as well as the conductive trace for signal transmission, are printed on the substrate layer by the screen printing technique. A scanning circuit based on zero potential method and an experimental set‐up based on balance to characterize the sensor array are designed and implemented in the test of the sensor array.

Findings

Experimental results verify the validity of the sensor array in measuring the vertical tactile force between the sensing elements and the object.

Research limitations/implications

In this paper, all the sensors are tested without calibration procedures and the procedure of the dynamic test is implemented by manual operation.

Practical implications

The sensor array could be applied to measure the plantar force for gait detection in clinical applications.

Originality/value

The paper presents a tactile force sensor array with discrete sensing elements to essentially restrict the cross‐talk among sensing elements. This paper will provide many practical details that can help others in the field.

Keywords

Citation

Zhang, X., Zhao, Y. and Zhang, X. (2012), "Design and fabrication of a thin and soft tactile force sensor array based on conductive rubber", Sensor Review, Vol. 32 No. 4, pp. 273-279. https://doi.org/10.1108/02602281211257506

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited