Towards scalable soft e-skin: Flexible event-based tactile-sensors using wireless sensor elements embedded in soft elastomer

Ariel Slepyan, Nitish Thakor

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

Abstract

Scalable, high-density electronic skins (e-skins) are a desirable goal of tactile sensing. However, a realization of this goal has been elusive due to the trade-off between spatial and temporal resolution that current tactile sensors suffer from. Additionally, as tactile sensing grids become large, wiring becomes unmanageable, and there is a need for a wireless approach. In this work, a scalable, event-based, passive tactile sensing system is proposed that is based on radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology. An RFID-based tactile sensing hand is developed with 19 pressure sensing taxels. The taxels are read wirelessly using a single 'hand-shaped' RFID antenna. Each RFID tag is transformed into a pressure sensor by disconnecting the RFID chip from its antenna and embedding the chip and antenna into soft elastomer with an air gap introduced between the RFID chip and its antenna. When a pressure event occurs, the RFID chip contacts its antenna and receives power and communicates with the RFID reader. Thus, the sensor is transformed into a biomimetic event-based sensor, whose response is activated only when used. Further, this work demonstrates the feasibility of constructing event-based, passive sensing grids that can be read wirelessly. Future tactile sensing e-skins can utilize this approach to become scalable and dense, while retaining high temporal resolution. Moreover, this approach can be applied beyond tactile sensing, for the development of scalable and high-density sensors of any modality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2020 8th IEEE RAS/EMBS International Conference for Biomedical Robotics and Biomechatronics, BioRob 2020
PublisherIEEE Computer Society
Pages334-339
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9781728159072
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2020
Event8th IEEE RAS/EMBS International Conference for Biomedical Robotics and Biomechatronics, BioRob 2020 - New York City, United States
Duration: Nov 29 2020Dec 1 2020

Publication series

NameProceedings of the IEEE RAS and EMBS International Conference on Biomedical Robotics and Biomechatronics
Volume2020-November
ISSN (Print)2155-1774

Conference

Conference8th IEEE RAS/EMBS International Conference for Biomedical Robotics and Biomechatronics, BioRob 2020
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityNew York City
Period11/29/2012/1/20

Keywords

  • e-skin
  • event-based
  • high-density
  • passive
  • tactile sensing
  • wireless

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering

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