Date of Award

12-2010

Degree Name

MS in Mechanical Engineering

Department

Mechanical Engineering

Advisor

Dr. Saeed Niku

Abstract

To solve the problem of limited tactile sensing in humanoid robotics as well as provide for future planned mechanical prostheses, an innovative tactile sensor system was created and embedded into two realistic-looking artificial skin gloves. These artificial skin tactile sensors used small piezoelectric ceramic disks to measure applied force at multiple points on each glove. The gloves were created using silicone rubber to simulate both the texture and look of human skin, while maintaining both flexibility and durability. The sensor outputs were buffered by high-impedance voltage-following operational amplifiers, and then read sequentially using a multiplexing scheme by a microcontroller. Sensor data were sent via USB to a computer, where a graphical user display was created to show the tactile information in real time. These prototypes successfully demonstrated the viability of small piezoelectric elements embedded in silicone rubber for use in creating flexible and elastic tactile sensors.

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