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Sensors 2018, 18(2), 351; doi:10.3390/s18020351

A Novel Inverse Solution of Contact Force Based on a Sparse Tactile Sensor Array

The State Key Laboratory of Fluid Power & Mechatronic Systems, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310027, Zhejiang, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 27 December 2017 / Revised: 23 January 2018 / Accepted: 23 January 2018 / Published: 26 January 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Physical Sensors)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [2893 KB, uploaded 26 January 2018]   |  


High-density tactile sensing has been pursued for humanoid robotic hands to obtain contact force information while the elastomer skin cover is traditionally considered to impair the force discrimination. In this work, we try to utilize the diffusion effect of the elastomer cover to identify an arbitrary contact force load just based on a sparse tactile sensor array. By numerical analysis, we proved the monotonous relation between the Pearson’s correlation coefficient and the relative distance of two single-force loads. Then, we meshed the elastomer surface and conducted the calibration load process to establish the calibration database of the sensing outputs. Afterwards, we applied the correlation method to the database and the sensing output of the unknown load to determine its location and intensity. For validation tests of the proposed method, we designed and fabricated a 3 × 3 sparse tactile sensor array with flat elastomer cover and established an automatic three-axis loading system. The validation tests were implemented including 100 random points with force intensity ranging from 0.1 to 1 N. The test results show that the method has good accuracy of detecting force load with the mean location error of 0.46 mm and the mean intensity error of 0.043 N, which meets the basic requirements of tactile sensing. Therefore, it is feasible for the sparse tactile sensor array to realize high-density load detection. View Full-Text
Keywords: sparse tactile sensor array; inverse problem; correlation coefficient; elastomer cover sparse tactile sensor array; inverse problem; correlation coefficient; elastomer cover

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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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Liu, W.; Gu, C.; Zeng, R.; Yu, P.; Fu, X. A Novel Inverse Solution of Contact Force Based on a Sparse Tactile Sensor Array. Sensors 2018, 18, 351.

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