The development of tactile sensors and ultrasonic sensor technology

- Jun 07, 2019-

In recent years, with the development of science and technology, people have more imagination and expectation for the application scenarios of intelligent robots. Unlike the traditional industrial robots, the next generation of robots will be used in the fields of wearable devices, outer space exploration, and advanced medical testing. They rely on a variety of sensory sensing and analysis environments to have a human-like sense.


tactile sensors and ultrasonic sensor technology


A smart tactile sensor is as important as a human hand because it not only reads physical features such as position, temperature, and shape, but also performs various operations by sensing stiffness and pressure.

The tactile sensor is an important medium for the robot to sense the external environment, and it is extremely important for the robot to operate the target object correctly. Under the premise of flexible and free movement of the robot, the tactile sensor is required to accurately sense the external environment in order to achieve various precise operations on the target object.


So far, tactile sensing mechanism, tactile sensing materials, tactile information acquisition, tactile image recognition, and practical use of sensors have become the research hotspots of domestic and foreign scientific research teams.


As early as the 1970s, foreign robot research has become a hot spot, but the research of tactile sensing technology has just begun. At that time, the study of touch was limited to the contact with the object, the contact force, although there are some good ideas, but the development of the sensor is very small and the design is very simple.


The 1980s was a period of rapid growth in the research and development of robotic tactile sensing technology. During this period, sensor development, tactile data processing, and active tactile perception have been greatly developed. Since then, many physical sensors have been used in the field of tactile sensing. The outstanding feature is the research of sensor devices, which is oriented to industrial automation.

In recent years, through the unremitting efforts of researchers at home and abroad, many new types of tactile sensors and tactile signal processing methods have been developed. In 2008, the research team at Kyoto University in Japan designed a piezoelectric three-dimensional force tactile sensor that was mounted on the dexterous finger end of the robot for surgery.


In 2009, researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Applied Materials in Germany developed an octopus underwater robot with a new haptic system that accurately senses the obstacles and completes the survey of the submarine environment.


Recently, the computer team at Carnegie Mellon University in the United States has developed a new generation of industrial robot "Baxter" that combines vision and touch. The "Baxter" robot can perform the grasping action, and control the grip force by sensing whether the object slides or not, thereby completing a series of grasping actions, such as peeling banana peel.


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