The pimple-shaped cells on the surface of cucumber tendril are excellent examples of an arrayed mechanosensor system. They convert the mechanical touch to an electric receptor potential, used to provide information on the geometry of the contact.
Inspired by the sensing principles of cucumber tendrils, we have created miniature sensing elements that can be distributed across the surface of soft manipulators to form a sensor network capable of acquire tactile information.
The mechanical stiffness gradient in the design of the sensing system is allowing effective measurement of contact forces without imposing mechanical constraints on bending and elongation of the arm.
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Noh, Y., Sareh, S., Wudermann, H., Liu, H., Althoefer, K., (2015) Three Axial Fiber-Optic Body Force Sensor for Flexible Manipulators, Sensors-11652-2015.
Noh, Y., Liu, H., Sareh, S., Chathuranga, D., Wurdemann, H., Rhode, K., Althoefer, K. (2016) Image-based Optical Miniaturized Three-Axis Force Sensor for Cardiac Catheterization, IEEE Sensors, Volume:PP Issue:99.