Force and tactile sensors
edited by: Bruno Siciliano, Oussama Khatib
This chapter provides an overview of force and tactile sensing, with the primary emphasis placed on tactile sensing. We begin by presenting some basic considerations in choosing a tactile sensor and then review a wide variety of sensor types, including proximity, kinematic, force, dynamic, contact, skin deflection, thermal, and pressure sensors. We also review various transduction methods, appropriate for each general sensor type. We consider the information that these various types of sensors provide in terms of whether they are most useful for manipulation, surface exploration or being responsive to contacts from external agents. Concerning the interpretation of tactile information, we describe the general problems and present two short illustrative examples. The first involves intrinsic tactile sensing, i.e., estimating contact locations and forces from force sensors. The second involves contact pressure sensing, i.e., estimating surface normal and shear stress distributions from an array of sensors in an elastic skin. We conclude with a brief discussion of the challenges that remain to be solved in packaging and manufacturing damage-tolerant tactile sensors.