Nonlinear Tactile Element


The goal of our research is to develop a stretchable sensor skin that covers a large area such as a whole surface of a robot.
We propose a new sensor element for the tactile sensor skin.

Fig.1 Tactile sensor skin.
It is soft, stretchable, and capable of covering a large area.
Measured data are multi-hopped
by sensor/communication chips. (Cell-bridge system)

Because the side length of the sensor element is several cm, we can cover a large area with a small amount of the sensor elements.
The sensor element acquires not only "contact force" but also "contact area" so that it can detect various touch feelings. >> Detail
The structure of the sensor element is very simple;
two layers of compressible insulators which are sandwiched between three pieces of stretchable conductive sheets.
We measure the capacitances between the conductive pieces. >> Structure and Sensing Theory

Fig.2 Sensor element.

Fig.3 Outputs of sensor element (Capacitance variations).
A capacitive sensor element consisting of two layers of
compressible insulators which have different hardness.
Not only contact force but also contact area are
estimated from the capacitance variations of the two layers.

  1. Takayuki Hoshi and Hiroyuki Shinoda: A Sensitive Skin Based on Touch-Area-Evaluating Tactile Elements,
    Proc. Symposium on Haptic Interfaces for Virtual Environment and Teleoperator Systems (Haptics Symposium 2006), pp. 89-94, Alexandria, Virginia (USA), 25-26 Mar., 2006.
  2. Takayuki Hoshi and Hiroyuki Shinoda: A Tactile Sensing Element for a Whole Body Robot Skin,
    Proc. 36th International Symposium on Robotics (ISR 2005), TU412, Tokyo (Japan), 29 Nov. - 1 Dec., 2005.
  3. Takayuki Hoshi and Hiroyuki Shinoda: Tactile Sensing Using Nonlinear Elasticity,
    Proc. SICE Annual Conference 2005, pp. 2978-2981, Okayama (Japan), 8-10 Aug., 2005.

Release: 1 Apr. 2005
Update: 2 Aug. 2013
Takayuki Hoshi: star(at)