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Triaxial 3D-Channeled Soft Optical Sensor for Tactile Robots
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  • Matteo Lo Preti,
  • Federico Bernabei,
  • Anderson B Nardin,
  • Lucia Beccai
Matteo Lo Preti

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Federico Bernabei
Anderson B Nardin
Lucia Beccai


Soft optical transducers have the potential to fulfill the need for advanced tactile sensing in robotics. We present a fingertipshaped soft sensor with optically transparent channels that relies on soft materials and sensor morphology to measure an applied triaxial force. The proposed 3D-channeled sensor has a volume of 2.5 cm3 , and experimental results reveal a fifteen-fold increase in voltage compared to its bulk analogous, showcasing a sensitivity of 0.34 N/mV and 0.09 N/mV to tangential and normal forces. A prototype with a diameter of 2 mm (0.4x) indicates the feasibility of scaling down the sensor. Force magnitude is estimated with a linear model and then decomposed into its Fxy and Fz with an R2 of 0.93 and 0.98 within a sensing range of 4.05 N and 8.50 N, respectively. A coordinate transformation from a covariant to a cartesian reference frame is used to retrieve the direction of the tangential component of the force. The sensor was integrated into a compliant robotic hand as a proof-of-concept to demonstrate its real-time operation and suitability for grasping, paving the way for advancements in soft tactile sensors that can be embedded in soft robots.
14 Mar 2024Submitted to TechRxiv
19 Mar 2024Published in TechRxiv