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We describe the development of a tactile hemispherical soft fingertip (FT) of a size similar to that of a human thumb. The sensory core consists of a microscaled force/torque sensor that can output one component of force and two components of moment simultaneously, which was developed beforehand. This sensor is embedded in a polyurethane rubber hemispherical dome to form a complete soft, compliant, and perceptible robotic FT. This system is designed for easy fabrication, high reliability in outputting signals, and stable operation. Static and dynamic mathematical analyses were utilized to investigate the responses of the sensor during the typical sliding motion of an FT. This was followed by experiments to show its potential in tactile and texture recognition. Especially, incipient-slip detection, which is critical in grasping manipulations, can be assessed properly and in a timely way. The development of this tactile FT is considered significant in the field of dexterous manipulation.
Date of Publication: June 2011