Soft Tactile Multidirectional Force Sensor

Soft Multi-Directional Force Sensor for Underwater Robotic Application

Authors: Rafsan Al Shafatul Islam Subad, Md Mahmud Hasan Saikot, and Kihan Park



Tactile information is crucial for recognizing physical interactions, manipulation of an object, and motion planning for a robotic gripper; however, concurrent tactile technologies have certain limitations over directional force sensing. In particular, they are expensive, difficult to fabricate, and mostly unsuitable for underwater use. Here, we present a facile and cost-effective synthesis technique of a flexible multi-directional force sensing system, which is also favorable to be utilized in underwater environments. We made use of four flex sensors within a silicone-made hemispherical shell structure. Each sensor was placed 90∘ apart and aligned with the curve of the hemispherical shape. If the force is applied on the top of the hemisphere, all the flex sensors would bend uniformly and yield nearly identical readings. When force is applied from a different direction, a set of flex sensors would characterize distinctive output patterns to localize the point of contact as well as the direction and magnitude of the force. The deformation of the fabricated soft sensor due to applied force was simulated numerically and compared with the experimental results. The fabricated sensor was experimentally calibrated and tested for characterization including an underwater demonstration. This study would widen the scope of identification of multi-directional force sensing, especially for underwater soft robotic applications. View Full Text.

Original research article published in Sensors.