[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study reports an improved approach to implement a carbon nanotube (CNT)-based flexible tactile sensor, which is integrated with a flexible print circuit (FPC) connector and is capable of detecting normal and shear forces. The merits of the presented tactile sensor by the integration process are as follows: (1) 3D polymer tactile bump structures are naturally formed by the use of an anisotropically etched silicon mold; (2) planar and 3D distributed CNTs are adopted as piezoresistive sensing elements to enable the detection of shear and normal forces; (3) the processes of patterning CNTs and metal routing can be easily batch fabricated on rigid silicon instead of flexible polymer; (4) robust electrical routing is realized using parylene encapsulation to avoid delamination; (5) patterned CNTs, electrical routing and FPC connector are integrated and transferred to a polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) substrate by a molding process. In application, the CNT-based flexible tactile sensor and its integration with the FPC connector are implemented. Preliminary tests show the feasibility of detecting both normal and shear forces using the presented flexible sensor.
Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering 10/2011; 21(11):115012. · 1.79 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In stark contrast to the inspiring functionality of the natural hand, limitations of current upper limb prostheses stemming from marginal feedback control, challenges of mechanical design, and lack of sensory capacity, are well-established. This paper provides a critical review of current sensory systems and the potential of a selection of electroactive polymers for sensory applications in hand prostheses. Candidate electroactive polymers are reviewed in terms of their relevant advantages and disadvantages, together with their current implementation in related applications. Empirical analysis of one of the most novel electroactive polymers, ionic polymer metal composites (IPMC), was conducted to demonstrate its potential for prosthetic applications. With linear responses within the operating range typical of hand prostheses, bending angles, and bending rates were accurately measured with 4.4+/-2.5 and 4.8+/-3.5% error, respectively, using the IPMC sensors. With these comparable error rates to traditional resistive bend sensors and a wide range of sensitivities and responses, electroactive polymers offer a promising alternative to more traditional sensory approaches. Their potential role in prosthetics is further heightened by their flexible and formable structure, and their ability to act as both sensors and actuators.
Medical Engineering & Physics 08/2006; 28(6):568-78. · 1.78 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Traditionally, in robotics, artificial intelligence and neuroscience, there has been a focus on the study of the control or the neural system itself. Recently there has been an increasing interest in the notion of embodiment not only in robotics and artificial intelligence, but also in the neurosciences, psychology and philosophy. In this paper, we introduce the notion of morphological computation, and demonstrate how it can be exploited on the one hand for designing intelligent, adaptive robotic systems, and on the other hand for understanding natural systems. While embodiment has often been used in its trivial meaning, i.e. “intelligence requires a body”, the concept has deeper and more important implications, concerned with the relation between physical and information (neural, control) processes. Morphological computation is about connecting body, brain and environment. A number of case studies are presented to illustrate the concept. We conclude with some speculations about potential lessons for neuroscience and robotics.
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