Biologically inspired multi-layered synthetic skin for tactile feedback in prosthetic limbs

Luke Osborn, Harrison Nguyen, Joseph Betthauser, Rahul Kaliki, Nitish V Thakor

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

The human body offers a template for many state-of-the-art prosthetic devices and sensors. In this work, we present a novel, sensorized synthetic skin that mimics the natural multi-layered nature of mechanoreceptors found in healthy glabrous skin to provide tactile information. The multi-layered sensor is made up of flexible piezoresistive textiles that act as force sensitive resistors (FSRs) to convey tactile information, which are embedded within a silicone rubber to resemble the compliant nature of human skin. The top layer of the synthetic skin is capable of detecting small loads less than 5 N whereas the bottom sensing layer responds reliably to loads over 7 N. Finite element analysis (FEA) of a simplified human fingertip and the synthetic skin was performed. Results suggest similarities in behavior during loading. A natural tactile event is simulated by loading the synthetic skin on a prosthetic limb. Results show the sensors' ability to detect applied loads as well as the ability to simulate neural spiking activity based on the derivative and temporal differences of the sensor response. During the tactile loading, the top sensing layer responded 0.24 s faster than the bottom sensing layer. A synthetic biologically-inspired skin such as this will be useful for enhancing the functionality of prosthetic limbs through tactile feedback.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2016 38th Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, EMBC 2016
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Pages4622-4625
Number of pages4
Volume2016-October
ISBN (Electronic)9781457702204
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 13 2016
Event38th Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, EMBC 2016 - Orlando, United States
Duration: Aug 16 2016Aug 20 2016

Other

Other38th Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, EMBC 2016
CountryUnited States
CityOrlando
Period8/16/168/20/16

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Signal Processing
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Health Informatics

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