In this paper, we propose and demonstrate a modular expandable capacitive tactile sensor using polydimethylsiloxsane (PDMS) elastomer. A sensor module consists of 16 × 16 tactile cells with 1 mm spatial resolution, similar to that of human skin, and interconnection lines for expandability. The sensor has been fabricated by using five PDMS layers bonded together. In order to customize the sensitivity of a sensor, we cast PDMS by spin coating and cured it on a highly planarized stage for uniform thickness. The cell size is 600 × 600 μm2 and initial capacitance of each cell is about 180 fF. Tactile response of a cell has been measured using a commercial force gauge having 1 mN resolution and a motorized z-axis precision stage with 100 nm resolution. The fabricated cell shows a sensitivity of 3%/mN within the full scale range of 40 mN (250 kPa). Four tactile modules have been successfully attached by using anisotropic conductive paste to demonstrate expandability of the proposed sensors. Various tactile images have been successfully captured by single sensor module as well as the expanded 32 × 32 array sensors.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Manuscript received March 3, 2006; revised June 27, 2006. This work was supported in part by the Intelligent Robotics Project from the 21st Century Frontier R&D Program, Ministry of Science and Technology, Korea. Subject Editor S. Shoji.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Mechanical Engineering
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering