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Distributed sensor networks as sensate skin

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3 Author(s)
Lifton, J. ; Media Lab., MIT, Cambridge, MA, USA ; Broxton, M. ; Paradiso, J.A.

We have designed and constructed a hardware test bed to explore the application of a dense, multi-modal, peer-to-peer, sensor network as an electronic "skin"; a sensate lining that covers an object to sense, process, and coarsely classify local stimuli. Resulting parameters can be routed between nodes (which we term skin "patches") neighbor-to-neighbor to a portal for external analysis and/or produce a local response with a set of actuators built into each patch. The resulting device is a roughly 33-cm. diameter sphere tiled with such patches. Each patch sports an array of vibration-sensitive whiskers, sensors for local pressure, light, sound, and temperature, as well as actuators for a full range of colors, vibrations, and sound. All these sensors and actuators fall under the control of a dense, distributed sensor network, as each patch is connected to its neighbors. Geometrically, this device, termed "Tribble", resembles a soccer ball, where each face is a single patch of skin.

Published in:

Sensors, 2003. Proceedings of IEEE  (Volume:2 )

Date of Conference:

22-24 Oct. 2003