A 3D-Printed Soft Fingertip Sensor for Providing Information about Normal and Shear Components of Interaction Forces

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Abstract

Sensing of the interaction forces at fingertips is of great value in assessment and rehabili-tation therapy. Current force sensors are not compliant to the fingertip tissue and result in loss of touch sensation of the user. This work shows the development and characterization of a flexible fully-3D-printed piezoresistive shear and normal force sensor that uses the mechanical deformation of the finger tissue. Two prototypes of the sensing structure are evaluated using a finite element model and a measurement setup that applies normal and shear forces up to 10 N on a fingertip phantom placed inside the sensing structure, which is fixed to prevent slippage. Furthermore, the relation between strain (rate) and resistance of the conductive TPU, used for the strain gauges, is characterized. The applied normal and shear force components of the 3D-printed sensing structure can be partly separated. FEM analysis showed that the output of the sensor is largely related to the sensor geometry and location of the strain gauges. Furthermore, the conductive TPU that was used has a negative gauge factor for the strain range used in this study and might cause non-linear behaviors in the sensor output.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4271
JournalSensors (Switzerland)
Volume21
Issue number13
Early online date22 Jun 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2021

Keywords

  • 3D-printing
  • Conductive
  • Fingertip sensor
  • Flexible, soft, shear force
  • TPU

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