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Soft Tactile Sensing and Interface Design


Outperforming the sensing ability of human fingertips has long been a challenge for tactile sensors. In this communication, we present an approach to changing the stiffness of the sensor to broaden the range of stiffness sensing. For our sensor design, we used a depth camera and a pressure sensor to capture deformation and stress on the surface of contact in order to mimic the perception mechanism of a fingertip. We tested the stiffness of five different objects, and the estimation error was 8.71%.

One of the major challenges with exoskeletons is the interface between the exoskeleton and the human user. A mismatch of stiffness between the interface and the human body often causes discomfort and thus limits the usability of the exoskeleton for longer durations. We propose a method to design and fabricate compliant wearable interfaces that users can place between their body and a rigid exoskeleton to achieve design objectives such as redistributing the forces applied to the body by the exoskeleton and thus improve comfort. With our approach, users can analyze the effect of varying the stiffness of the interface on the usability, mobility, other design objectives, and static and dynamic responses.

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