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Sensors 2016, 16(11), 1928; doi:10.3390/s16111928

A Deformable Smart Skin for Continuous Sensing Based on Electrical Impedance Tomography

1
Department of Intelligent Interaction Technologies, University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba 305-8573, Japan
2
Department of Computer Science, University of Verona, 37057 Verona, Italy
3
Faculty of Engineering, Information and Systems, University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba 305-8573, Japan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Hyun-Joong Chung
Received: 25 August 2016 / Revised: 27 October 2016 / Accepted: 11 November 2016 / Published: 16 November 2016
(This article belongs to the Section Physical Sensors)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [13203 KB, uploaded 17 November 2016]   |  

Abstract

In this paper, we present a low-cost, adaptable, and flexible pressure sensor that can be applied as a smart skin over both stiff and deformable media. The sensor can be easily adapted for use in applications related to the fields of robotics, rehabilitation, or costumer electronic devices. In order to remove most of the stiff components that block the flexibility of the sensor, we based the sensing capability on the use of a tomographic technique known as Electrical Impedance Tomography. The technique allows the internal structure of the domain under study to be inferred by reconstructing its conductivity map. By applying the technique to a material that changes its resistivity according to applied forces, it is possible to identify these changes and then localise the area where the force was applied. We tested the system when applied to flat and curved surfaces. For all configurations, we evaluate the artificial skin capabilities to detect forces applied over a single point, over multiple points, and changes in the underlying geometry. The results are all promising, and open the way for the application of such sensors in different robotic contexts where deformability is the key point. View Full-Text
Keywords: deformable; adaptable; wearable sensor; electrical impedance tomography deformable; adaptable; wearable sensor; electrical impedance tomography
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Visentin, F.; Fiorini, P.; Suzuki, K. A Deformable Smart Skin for Continuous Sensing Based on Electrical Impedance Tomography. Sensors 2016, 16, 1928.

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