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Large area tactile sensing is finding more and more interest in technical applications from robotics to smart environments. Existing solutions could be improved with regard to increase of resolution or reduction of power consumption. In this paper, a concept of a variable or multi resolution and low-power system for tactile sensors based on conductive foam or rubber. A small-scale prototype has been conceived for a smart or sensate floor, in which tiles in sleep mode can be reduced in spatial and value resolution to a minimum until a touch or step brings them back to life and full resolution activity. Readout, recognition, and tracking of the tiled smart floor can be then organized as for state-of-the-art solutions. Furthermore, the best performance contact geometry has been explored in order to obtain the maximum sensitivity and the minimum hysteresis in the pressure. The current prototype from discrete electronics offers improvement potential in future work by dedicated integrated silicon or organic realization of switch and readout electronics.
Date of Conference: 20-23 March 2012