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Article
Publication date: 4 April 2020

Robert Bogue

This paper aims to provide details of the use of sensing skins by robots through reference to commercial products and recent research.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to provide details of the use of sensing skins by robots through reference to commercial products and recent research.

Design/methodology/approach

Following an introduction, this paper first summarises the commercial status of robotic sensing skins. It then provides examples of recent safety skin research and is followed by a discussion of processing schemes applied to multiple sensor skin systems including humanoid robots. Examples of research into soft, flexible skins follow and the paper concludes with a short discussion.

Findings

The commercialisation of sensing skins has been driven by safety applications in the emerging cobot sector, and a market is emerging for skins that can be retrofitted to conventional robots. Sensing skin research is widespread and covers a multitude of sensing principles, technologies, materials and signal processing schemes. This will yield skins which could impart advanced sensory capabilities to robots and potential future uses include agile manipulation, search and rescue, personal care and advanced robotic prosthetics.

Originality/value

This paper provides details of the current role of sensing skins in robots and an insight into recent research.

Details

Industrial Robot: the international journal of robotics research and application, vol. 47 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-991X

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Article
Publication date: 21 January 2019

Robert Bogue

This paper aims to illustrate the increasingly important role played by tactile sensing in robotics by considering three specific fields of application.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to illustrate the increasingly important role played by tactile sensing in robotics by considering three specific fields of application.

Design/methodology/approach

Following a short introduction, this paper first provides details of tactile sensing principles, technologies, products and research. The following sections consider tactile sensing applications in robotic surgery, collaborative robots and robotic grippers. Finally, brief conclusions are drawn.

Findings

Tactile sensors are the topic of an extensive and technologically diverse research effort, with sensing skins attracting particular attention. Many products are now available commercially. New generations of surgical robots are emerging which use tactile sensing to provide haptic feedback, thereby eliminating the surgeon’s total reliance on visual control. Many collaborative robots use tactile and proximity sensing as key safety mechanisms and some use sensing skins. Some skins can detect both human proximity and physical contact. Sensing skins that can be retrofitted have been developed. Commercial tactile sensors have been incorporated into robotic grippers, notably anthropomorphic types, and allow the handling of delicate objects and those with varying shapes and sizes. Tactile sensing uses will inevitably increase because of the ever-growing numbers of robots interacting with humans.

Originality/value

This study provides a detailed account of the growing use of tactile sensing in robotics in three key areas of application.

Details

Industrial Robot: the international journal of robotics research and application, vol. 46 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-991X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 21 August 2017

Robert Bogue

This paper aims to provide details of recent developments in robotic tactile sensing.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to provide details of recent developments in robotic tactile sensing.

Design/methodology/approach

Following a short introduction, this paper first provides an overview of tactile sensing effects and technologies. It then discusses recent developments in tactile sensing skins. Tactile sensing for robotic prosthetics and hands is then considered and is followed by a discussion of “tactile intelligence”. Various experimental results are included. Finally, brief concluding comments are drawn.

Findings

This shows that many advanced, sensitive and technologically varied tactile sensing devices are being developed. These devices are expected to impart robots with a range of enhanced capabilities such as improved gripping and manipulation, object recognition, the control and robotic hands and prosthetics and collision detection.

Originality/value

Tactile sensing has an increasingly important role to play in robotics, and this paper provides a technical insight into a number of recent developments and their applications.

Details

Industrial Robot: An International Journal, vol. 44 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-991X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 17 February 2012

Robert Bogue

This paper aims to provide a review of recent developments in selected fields of smart material technology.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to provide a review of recent developments in selected fields of smart material technology.

Design/methodology/approach

Following a brief introduction to smart materials, this paper considers research into three classes that are presently attracting particular interest: self‐healing materials; smart sensing materials and sensing skins; and shape‐changing materials.

Findings

This shows that each of these fields is the topic of a major research effort and although few products are yet available commercially, they offer great future potential due to their unique capabilities. A multitude of uses are anticipated in the aerospace, defence, automotive, civil engineering, medical, robotics and other industries.

Originality/value

This paper provides a topical, technical insight into developments in three classes of smart materials.

Details

Assembly Automation, vol. 32 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-5154

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Article
Publication date: 23 October 2007

Mette Ramsgard Thomsen

This paper aims to discuss the conceptualisation, design and realisation of a robotic membrane. Presenting research taking place between the cross‐over among architecture…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to discuss the conceptualisation, design and realisation of a robotic membrane. Presenting research taking place between the cross‐over among architecture, technical textiles and computer science, the paper seeks to explore the theoretical as well as the practical foundations for the making of a dynamic architecture.

Design/methodology/approach

The project employs an architectural design method developing working demonstrators. The paper asks how a material can be described through its behavioural as well as its formal properties. As new materials such as conductive and resistive fibres as well as smart memory alloys and polymers are developed, it becomes possible to create new hybrid materials that incorporate the possibility for state change.

Findings

The paper presents the first explorations into the making of architectural membranes that integrate systems for steering using traditional textile technologies. This paper presents a series of architectural investigations and models that seek to explore the conceptual, computational and the technological challenges of a robotic membrane.

Originality/value

The paper presents original thinking and technical innovation into the making of textile spaces.

Details

Kybernetes, vol. 36 no. 9/10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0368-492X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 17 September 2018

Yung Sin Chong, Keat Hoe Yeoh, Pei Ling Leow and Pei Song Chee

This paper aims to report a stretchable piezoresistive strain sensor array that can detect various static and dynamic stimuli, including bending, normal force, shear…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to report a stretchable piezoresistive strain sensor array that can detect various static and dynamic stimuli, including bending, normal force, shear stress and certain range of temperature variation, through sandwiching an array of conductive blocks, made of multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) and polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) composite. The strain sensor array induces localized resistance changes at different external mechanical forces, which can be potentially implemented as electronic skin.

Design/methodology/approach

The working principle is the piezoresistivity of the strain sensor array is based on the tunnelling resistance connection between the fillers and reformation of the percolating path when the PDMS and MWCNT composite deforms. When an external compression stimulus is exerted, the MWCNT inter-filler distance at the conductive block array reduces, resulting in the reduction of the resistance. The resistance between the conductive blocks in the array, on the other hand, increases when the strain sensor is exposed to an external stretching force. The methodology was as follows: Numerical simulation has been performed to study the pressure distribution across the sensor. This method applies two thin layers of conductive elastomer composite across a 2 × 3 conductive block array, where the former is to detect the stretchable force, whereas the latter is to detect the compression force. The fabrication of the strain sensor consists of two main stages: fabricating the conducting block array (detect compression force) and depositing two thin conductive layers (detect stretchable force).

Findings

Characterizations have been performed at the sensor pressure response: static and dynamic configuration, strain sensing and temperature sensing. Both pressure and strain sensing are studied in terms of the temporal response. The temporal response shows rapid resistance changes and returns to its original value after the external load is removed. The electrical conductivity of the prototype correlates to the temperature by showing negative temperature coefficient material behaviour with the sensitivity of −0.105 MΩ/°C.

Research limitations/implications

The conductive sensor array can potentially be implemented as electronic skin due to its reaction with mechanical stimuli: compression and stretchable pressure force, strain sensing and temperature sensing.

Originality/value

This prototype enables various static and dynamic stimulus detections, including bending, normal force, shear stress and certain range of temperature variation, through sandwiching an array of conductive blocks, made of MWCNT and PDMS composite. Conventional design might need to integrate different microfeatures to perform the similar task, especially for dynamic force sensing.

Details

Sensor Review, vol. 38 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0260-2288

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 22 March 2013

Dalibor Petković, Mirna Issa, Nenad D. Pavlović and Lena Zentner

The aim of this paper is to investigate implementations of carbon‐black filled silicone rubber for tactile sensation.

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this paper is to investigate implementations of carbon‐black filled silicone rubber for tactile sensation.

Design/methodology/approach

The sensor‐elements for this tactile sensing structure were made by press‐curing from carbon‐black filled silicone rubber.

Findings

The behaviour of the silicone rubber shows strong non‐linearity, therefore, the sensor cannot be used for accurate measurements. The greatest advantage of this material lies in its high elasticity.

Originality/value

A new method for artificial tactile sensing skin for robotic applications.

Details

Sensor Review, vol. 33 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0260-2288

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 20 May 2019

Xiaozhou Lu, Xi Xie, Qiaobo Gao, Hanlun Hu, Jiayi Yang, Hui Wang, Songlin Wang and Renjie Chen

The hands of intelligent robots perceive external stimuli and respond effectively according to tactile or pressure sensors. However, the traditional tactile and pressure…

Abstract

Purpose

The hands of intelligent robots perceive external stimuli and respond effectively according to tactile or pressure sensors. However, the traditional tactile and pressure sensors cannot perform human-skin-like intelligent properties of high sensitivity, large measurement range, multi-function and flexibility simultaneously. The purpose of this paper is to present a flexible tactile-pressure sensor based on hyper-elastics polydimethylsiloxane and plate capacitance.

Design/methodology/approach

With regard to this problem, this paper presents a flexible tactile-pressure sensor based on hyper-elastics PDMS and plate capacitance. The sensor has a size of 10 mm × 10 mm × 1.3 mm and is composed of four upper electrodes, one middle driving electrode and one lower electrode. The authors first analyzed the structure and the tactile-pressure sensing principle of human skin to obtain the design parameters of the sensor. Then they presented the working principle, material selection and mechanical structure design and fabrication process of the sensor. The authors also fabricated several sample devices of the sensor and carried out experiments to establish the relationship between the sensor output and the pressure.

Findings

The results show that the tactile part of the sensor can measure a range of 0.05-1N/mm2 micro pressure with a sensitivity of 2.93 per cent/N and a linearity of 0.03 per cent. The pressure part of the sensor can measure a range of 1-30N/mm2 pressure with a sensitivity of 0.08 per cent/N and a linearity of 0.07 per cent.

Originality/value

This paper analyzes the tactile and pressure sensing principles of human skin and develop an intelligent sensitive human-skin-like tactile-pressure sensor for intelligent robot perception systems. The sensor can achieve to imitate the tactile and pressure function simultaneously with a measurement resolution of 0.01 N and a spatial resolution of 2 mm.

Details

Sensor Review, vol. 39 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0260-2288

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 2000

R. Benhadj and R.L. Roome

This paper describes the development and the performance characteristics of a pneumatic proximity‐to‐tactile sensing device for automated recognition of manufacturing…

Abstract

This paper describes the development and the performance characteristics of a pneumatic proximity‐to‐tactile sensing device for automated recognition of manufacturing parts within flexible manufacturing environments. This tactile sensing device utilises a densely packed line array of IC piezoresistive pressure sensors, providing continuous variable back pressure output. The sensing elements incorporate a corresponding line matrix of air jets which form an air cushion between the sensing plane and the target when striking the object of interest. The back pressure output levels form the basis for the tasks of object detection and recognition. The system described is a research prototype and has been evaluated on a simple test rig: in this form it is not at a stage where it can be applied to a recognition situation on the shop floor.

Details

Sensor Review, vol. 20 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0260-2288

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 2005

Zengxi Pan and Zhenqi Zhu

This paper aims to design a new full‐body tactile sensor which is essential for the application of personal service robot similar to human skin.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to design a new full‐body tactile sensor which is essential for the application of personal service robot similar to human skin.

Design/methodology/approach

The largest difficulty for designing a full‐body tactile sensor is the huge number of output connections. The sensor introduced in this paper is a special multi‐layer structure, which could minimize the output connections while sensing both the position and force information. Since it is made of conductive and non‐conductive textiles, the sensor could be used to cover the curved surface of robot body.

Findings

With better structure design, output connectors and signal measurement times could be dramatically reduced.

Research limitations/implications

Sensor area and performance are limited by the sensitivity of the measurement circuits.

Originality/value

Introduces an innovate design of full‐body tactile sensor.

Details

Industrial Robot: An International Journal, vol. 32 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-991X

Keywords

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