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Sensors 2018, 18(2), 587; https://doi.org/10.3390/s18020587

Mexican-Hat-Like Response in a Flexible Tactile Sensor Using a Magnetorheological Elastomer

1
Department of Adaptive Machine Systems, Graduate School of Engineering, Osaka University, Suita 5650871, Japan
2
Department of Mechanical Engineering and Intelligent Systems, Graduate School of Informatics and Engineering, The University of Electro-Communications, Chofu 1828585, Japan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 19 December 2017 / Revised: 5 February 2018 / Accepted: 12 February 2018 / Published: 14 February 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Physical Sensors)
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Abstract

A significant challenge in robotics is providing a sense of touch to robots. Even though several types of flexible tactile sensors have been proposed, they still have various technical issues such as a large amount of deformation that fractures the sensing elements, a poor maintainability and a deterioration in the sensitivity caused by the presence of a thick and soft covering. As one solution for these issues, we proposed a flexible tactile sensor composed of a magnet, magnetic transducer and dual-layer elastomer, which consists of a magnetorheological and nonmagnetic elastomer sheet. In this study, we first investigated the sensitivity of the sensor, which was found to be high (approximately 161 mV/N with a signal-to-noise ratio of 42.2 dB); however, the sensor has a speed-dependent hysteresis in its sensor response curve. Then, we investigated the spatial response and observed the following results: (1) the sensor response was a distorted Mexican-hat-like bipolar shape, namely a negative response area was observed around the positive response area; (2) the negative response area disappeared when we used a compressible sponge sheet instead of the incompressible nonmagnetic elastomer. We concluded that the characteristic negative response in the Mexican-hat-like response is derived from the incompressibility of the nonmagnetic elastomer. View Full-Text
Keywords: force and tactile sensing; tactile sensor; robotic skin; flexible materials; magnetorheological elastomer; magnetic flux measurements force and tactile sensing; tactile sensor; robotic skin; flexible materials; magnetorheological elastomer; magnetic flux measurements
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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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Kawasetsu, T.; Horii, T.; Ishihara, H.; Asada, M. Mexican-Hat-Like Response in a Flexible Tactile Sensor Using a Magnetorheological Elastomer. Sensors 2018, 18, 587.

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