The Shadow Robot Company (UK) has introduced a range of compact tactile sensors, whose sensitivity gets close to that of a human fingertip.
The Shadow Tactile Sensor is an integrated touch sensing solution for robotic systems, first developed for the Shadow Dextrous Hand. This innovative technology was developed using Quantum Tunnelling Composite (QTC) as its sensing medium which in turn allows a large sensitivity and range to be achieved.
The sensor is available in two shapes, suitable for a thumb or finger, as well as in two sizes, with 34 or 22 individual tactile elements (tactels). Each tactel is sensitive to loads ranging from 0.1N to 25N. The tactels are evenly distributed over the surface of the sensor with the thumb and the finger both having the same number of tactels, but in a slightly different arrangement.
The external shell of the sensor is made from two grades of hard-wearing polyurethane. The sensor contains all necessary signal conditioning electronics, and provides a digital data stream for integration into the robotic system.
A DARPA - funded prosthetics project, headed by The Johns Hopkins University, Applied Physics Laboratory, was looking for a tactile sensor with the necessary qualities to use as the core of their system. The Shadow sensor was the only one offering the right basic set of qualities, and Shadow was happy to enhance the sensor for their specific requirements.
This new generation of sensors has again surpassed expectation by increasing the sensitivity range and the reliability. The production process has been further streamlined to increase productivity.
In terms of application, The Shadow Tactile Sensor gives robots a fine-grained sense of touch, which makes it possible for robots to handle objects more reliably and more safely. The Shadow Robot Company produces both standard and custom sensors based on this technology.
If these sensors could be useful in your work please ask for a copy of the Tactile Sensor data sheet.
Romheld Australia distributes Shadow Robot products, along with a complete range of gripper systems, robot end effectors and automation accessories, throughout Australia and New Zealand.