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Tactile Sensors and Applications

A special issue of Sensors (ISSN 1424-8220). This special issue belongs to the section "Physical Sensors".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (10 December 2018) | Viewed by 38803

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Instituto de Telecomunicações DEEC/IST, Av. Rovisco Pais, 1, 1049-001 Lisboa, Portugal
Interests: sensors; transducers; instrumentation; measuring techniques; digital data processing; automated measurement systems; wireless sensor networks; metrology; quality; electromagnetic compatibility
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Instituto de Telecomunicações, Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade de Lisboa, 1649-004 Lisboa, Portugal
Interests: instrumentation and measurement; power quality monitoring/measurements; automatic measurement systems; impedance measurements; impedance spectroscopy; non-destructive electronic measurement systems; sine-fitting algorithms
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Department of Engineering, Biologically Inspired Robotics Laboratory, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
Interests: large-area tactile sensor for robots; tactile sensor based robot control; tactile sensor design; soft and 3D printed sensors

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Guest Editor
Associate Professor of Automatic Control at the University of Genova Department of Computer Science, Bioengineering, Robotics and Systems Engineering Via Opera Pia 13, 16145 Genova, Italy
Interests: Tactile Sensor Systems, Robotics, Mechatronics, Robot Control Systems

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Touch is one of the main senses that humans use. The contact of external objects or forces with the body, especially the hands, is one of the main ways for humans to interact with the environment and explore their surroundings. Different types of touch receptors are located in different layers of the skin. They are responsible for conveying to the brain, not only tactile, but also haptic and temperature information.

The possibility of mimic touch by electromechanical systems, such as robots, has been pursued for almost 40 years, but, with a few exceptions, practical results are still far from what is desirable. This is due to the complexity associated to accomplishing artificial tactile sensing in an effective way. There are several issues requiring further research, e.g., whole body awareness (i.e., large area skin), conformability and stretchability, multimodality, structured design methodology, maintenance, calibration, system integration, interpretation of tactile data, reliability, fault tolerance and robustness, scalability, effective use of materials, small size and low power consumption, etc.

The number of potential applications, e.g., humanoid and industrial robots, health care systems, medical instrumentation and prosthetic devices, augmented reality, human-machine interaction and many others, has increased very rapidly in the last years. This led the research community to address not only transducers development, but also system integration and engineering issues, which means the involvement of people working, namely, on electronics, mechanics, material science, measurement methods, system engineering, robotics and bioengineering

This Special Issue aims to provide an overview of current studies and achievements on tactile sensing and their applications in real world.

Prof. Pedro Silva Girão
Dr. Pedro Ramos
Dr. Perla Maiolino
Dr. Giorgio Cannata
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sensors is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Artificial and electronic skin
  • Bio-Inspired tactile sensor
  • Distributed Tactile sensing
  • Flexible and conformable sensors and arrays
  • Materials for tactile sensors
  • Multimodal tactile sensors
  • Novel tactile sensors
  • Printable-tactile sensors
  • Smart sensing materials
  • Soft and 3D printed tactile sensor
  • Stretchable tactile sensor
  • System integration
  • Tactile and visual sensing integration
  • Tactile data processing and interpretation
  • Tactile sensing and arts
  • Tactile sensing design
  • Tactile sensing in consumer goods
  • Tactile sensing in prosthetics
  • Tactile sensing in neuroengineering
  • Tactile sensing in neurorehabilitation
  • Tactile sensor array
  • Touch-based human–robot interaction

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

25 pages, 13134 KiB  
Article
Contact Modelling and Tactile Data Processing for Robot Skins
by Wojciech Wasko, Alessandro Albini, Perla Maiolino, Fulvio Mastrogiovanni and Giorgio Cannata
Sensors 2019, 19(4), 814; https://doi.org/10.3390/s19040814 - 16 Feb 2019
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 3830
Abstract
Tactile sensing is a key enabling technology to develop complex behaviours for robots interacting with humans or the environment. This paper discusses computational aspects playing a significant role when extracting information about contact events. Considering a large-scale, capacitance-based robot skin technology we developed [...] Read more.
Tactile sensing is a key enabling technology to develop complex behaviours for robots interacting with humans or the environment. This paper discusses computational aspects playing a significant role when extracting information about contact events. Considering a large-scale, capacitance-based robot skin technology we developed in the past few years, we analyse the classical Boussinesq–Cerruti’s solution and the Love’s approach for solving a distributed inverse contact problem, both from a qualitative and a computational perspective. Our contribution is the characterisation of the algorithms’ performance using a freely available dataset and data originating from surfaces provided with robot skin. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tactile Sensors and Applications)
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13 pages, 2511 KiB  
Article
Haptic Glove and Platform with Gestural Control For Neuromorphic Tactile Sensory Feedback In Medical Telepresence
by Jessica D’Abbraccio, Luca Massari, Sahana Prasanna, Laura Baldini, Francesca Sorgini, Giuseppe Airò Farulla, Andrea Bulletti, Marina Mazzoni, Lorenzo Capineri, Arianna Menciassi, Petar Petrovic, Eduardo Palermo and Calogero Maria Oddo
Sensors 2019, 19(3), 641; https://doi.org/10.3390/s19030641 - 3 Feb 2019
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 7350
Abstract
Advancements in the study of the human sense of touch are fueling the field of haptics. This is paving the way for augmenting sensory perception during object palpation in tele-surgery and reproducing the sensed information through tactile feedback. Here, we present a novel [...] Read more.
Advancements in the study of the human sense of touch are fueling the field of haptics. This is paving the way for augmenting sensory perception during object palpation in tele-surgery and reproducing the sensed information through tactile feedback. Here, we present a novel tele-palpation apparatus that enables the user to detect nodules with various distinct stiffness buried in an ad-hoc polymeric phantom. The contact force measured by the platform was encoded using a neuromorphic model and reproduced on the index fingertip of a remote user through a haptic glove embedding a piezoelectric disk. We assessed the effectiveness of this feedback in allowing nodule identification under two experimental conditions of real-time telepresence: In Line of Sight (ILS), where the platform was placed in the visible range of a user; and the more demanding Not In Line of Sight (NILS), with the platform and the user being 50 km apart. We found that the entailed percentage of identification was higher for stiffer inclusions with respect to the softer ones (average of 74% within the duration of the task), in both telepresence conditions evaluated. These promising results call for further exploration of tactile augmentation technology for telepresence in medical interventions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tactile Sensors and Applications)
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16 pages, 2156 KiB  
Article
Learning Spatio Temporal Tactile Features with a ConvLSTM for the Direction Of Slip Detection
by Brayan S. Zapata-Impata, Pablo Gil and Fernando Torres
Sensors 2019, 19(3), 523; https://doi.org/10.3390/s19030523 - 27 Jan 2019
Cited by 61 | Viewed by 5748
Abstract
Robotic manipulators have to constantly deal with the complex task of detecting whether a grasp is stable or, in contrast, whether the grasped object is slipping. Recognising the type of slippage—translational, rotational—and its direction is more challenging than detecting only stability, but is [...] Read more.
Robotic manipulators have to constantly deal with the complex task of detecting whether a grasp is stable or, in contrast, whether the grasped object is slipping. Recognising the type of slippage—translational, rotational—and its direction is more challenging than detecting only stability, but is simultaneously of greater use as regards correcting the aforementioned grasping issues. In this work, we propose a learning methodology for detecting the direction of a slip (seven categories) using spatio-temporal tactile features learnt from one tactile sensor. Tactile readings are, therefore, pre-processed and fed to a ConvLSTM that learns to detect these directions with just 50 ms of data. We have extensively evaluated the performance of the system and have achieved relatively high results at the detection of the direction of slip on unseen objects with familiar properties (82.56% accuracy). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tactile Sensors and Applications)
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13 pages, 3198 KiB  
Article
Mutual Capacitive Sensing Touch Screen Controller for Ultrathin Display with Extended Signal Passband Using Negative Capacitance
by Chang-Ju Lee, Jong Kang Park, Canxing Piao, Han-Eol Seo, Jaehyuk Choi and Jung-Hoon Chun
Sensors 2018, 18(11), 3637; https://doi.org/10.3390/s18113637 - 26 Oct 2018
Cited by 19 | Viewed by 6602
Abstract
Flexible and thin displays for smart devices have a large coupling capacitance between the sensor electrode of the touch screen panel (TSP) and the display electrode. This increased coupling capacitance limits the signal passband to less than 100 kHz, resulting in a significant [...] Read more.
Flexible and thin displays for smart devices have a large coupling capacitance between the sensor electrode of the touch screen panel (TSP) and the display electrode. This increased coupling capacitance limits the signal passband to less than 100 kHz, resulting in a significant reduction in the received signal, with a driving frequency of several hundred kilohertz used for noise avoidance. To overcome this problem, we reduced the effective capacitance at the analog front-end by connecting a circuit with a negative capacitance in parallel with the coupling capacitance of the TSP. In addition, the in-phase and quadrature demodulation scheme was used to address the phase fluctuation between the signal and the clock during demodulation. We fabricated a test chip using the 0.35 µm CMOS process and obtained a signal-to-noise ratio of 43.2 dB for a 6 mm diameter metal pillar touch input. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tactile Sensors and Applications)
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20 pages, 1643 KiB  
Article
Design, Analysis and Experiment of a Tactile Force Sensor for Underwater Dexterous Hand Intelligent Grasping
by Jianjun Zhang, Weidong Liu, Li’e Gao, Yiwen Zhang and Weijiang Tang
Sensors 2018, 18(8), 2427; https://doi.org/10.3390/s18082427 - 26 Jul 2018
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 4072
Abstract
This paper proposes a novel underwater dexterous hand structure whose fingertip is equipped with underwater tactile force sensor (UTFS) array to realize the grasping sample location determination and force perception. The measurement structure, theoretical analysis, prototype development and experimental verification of the UTFS [...] Read more.
This paper proposes a novel underwater dexterous hand structure whose fingertip is equipped with underwater tactile force sensor (UTFS) array to realize the grasping sample location determination and force perception. The measurement structure, theoretical analysis, prototype development and experimental verification of the UTFS are purposefully studied in order to achieve accurate measurement under huge water pressure influence. The UTFS is designed as capsule shape type with differential pressure structure, and the external water pressure signal is separately transmitted to the silicon cup bottom which is considered to be an elastomer with four strain elements distribution through the upper and lower flexible contacts and the silicone oil filled in the upper and lower cavities of UTFS. The external tactile force information can be obtained by the vector superposition between the upper and lower of silicon cup bottom to counteract the water pressure influence. The analytical solution of deformation and stress of the bottom of the square silicon cup bottom is analyzed with the use of elasticity and shell theory, and compared with the Finite Element Analysis results, which provides theoretical support for the distribution design of four strain elements at the bottom of the silicon cup. At last, the UTFS zero drift experiment without force applying under different water depths, the output of the standard force applying under different water depth and the test of the standard force applying under conditions of different 0 C–30 C temperature with 0.1 m water depth are carried out to verify the performance of the sensor. The experiments show that the UTFS has a high linearity and sensitivity, and which has a regular zero drift and temperature drift which can be eliminated by calibration algorithm. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tactile Sensors and Applications)
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18 pages, 5022 KiB  
Article
Design and Evaluation of FBG-Based Tension Sensor in Laparoscope Surgical Robots
by Renfeng Xue, Bingyin Ren, Jiaqing Huang, Zhiyuan Yan and Zhijiang Du
Sensors 2018, 18(7), 2067; https://doi.org/10.3390/s18072067 - 28 Jun 2018
Cited by 36 | Viewed by 5392
Abstract
Due to the narrow space and a harsh chemical environment in the sterilization processes for the end-effector of surgical robots, it is difficult to install and integrate suitable sensors for the purpose of effective and precise force control. This paper presents an innovative [...] Read more.
Due to the narrow space and a harsh chemical environment in the sterilization processes for the end-effector of surgical robots, it is difficult to install and integrate suitable sensors for the purpose of effective and precise force control. This paper presents an innovative tension sensor for estimation of grasping force in our laparoscope surgical robot. The proposed sensor measures the tension of cable using fiber gratings (FBGs) which are pasted in the grooves on the inclined cantilevers of the sensor. By exploiting the stain measurement characteristics of FBGs, the small deformation of the inclined cantilevers caused by the cable tension can be measured. The working principle and the sensor model are analyzed. Based on the sensor model, the dimensions of the sensor are designed and optimized. A dedicated experimental setup is established to calibrate and test the sensor. The results of experiments for estimation the grasping force validate the sensor. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tactile Sensors and Applications)
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11 pages, 2969 KiB  
Article
Tactile Estimation of Molded Plastic Plates Based on the Estimated Impulse Responses of Mechanoreceptive Units
by Lisako Nobuyama, Yuta Kurashina, Kei Kawauchi, Koji Matsui and Kenjiro Takemura
Sensors 2018, 18(5), 1588; https://doi.org/10.3390/s18051588 - 16 May 2018
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 3570
Abstract
This study proposes a tactile estimation method of molded plastic plates based on human tactile perception characteristics. Plastic plates are often used in consumer products. The tactile evaluation plays an important role in product development. However, physical quantities not taking into account human [...] Read more.
This study proposes a tactile estimation method of molded plastic plates based on human tactile perception characteristics. Plastic plates are often used in consumer products. The tactile evaluation plays an important role in product development. However, physical quantities not taking into account human tactile perception have been employed in previous tactile estimation procedures. Hence, in this study, we adopted the vibrational thresholds of the mechanoreceptive units—FA I, FA II, SA I and SA II—for stimuli detection and developed a tactile estimation method for plastic plates that clarified the mechanoreceptive units related to tactile sensation. The developed tactile sensor consists of a base and a silicone rubber pad that contains strain gauges in it. We detected vibration during touch by the sensor and calculated the estimation of the firing values of the cutaneous mechanoreceptors, which are the essential data obtained by humans during tactile perception, in comparison to the amplitude spectrum of the vibration with the threshold amplitude of each mechanoreceptive unit. Simultaneously, we calculated the relationship between the normal and tangential forces recorded while the sensor ran over the samples. As a result of stepwise linear regression analysis using these values as explanatory variables, the evaluation scores for Soft were successfully estimated using the firing value of FA II and the relationship between normal/tangential forces, and the evaluation scores for Rough were estimated using the SA I firing value. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tactile Sensors and Applications)
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