Humans can sense various properties of objects such as surface roughness and hardness by touch with their skin.
However, in fact, the resolution of the human tactile is low.
(Two Point Discrimination Thresholds are several cm.)
On the other hand, humans can detect sharpness of objects very sensitively in spite of such large TPDT.
Fig.1 Characteristics of human tactile.
We cannot number stimulations (upper), but we can detect sharpness of them (lower).
Iinspired by the characteristics of the human tactile sensation, we have proposed a new tactile sensing method:
A sensor element has a large sensing area (several cm2)
and acquires not only contact force but also contact area.
Owing to the additional sensing parameter, that is, the contact area,
a robot skin which detects minute shape features is easily realized by arraying the elements in low density.
In consequence, we can cover whole surfaces of robots with a small amount of the elements.