Energy generating electronic skin with intrinsic tactile sensing without touch sensors

Escobedo, P. , Ntagios, M. , Shakthivel, D., Navaraj, W. T. and Dahiya, R. (2021) Energy generating electronic skin with intrinsic tactile sensing without touch sensors. IEEE Transactions on Robotics, 37(2), pp. 683-690. (doi: 10.1109/TRO.2020.3031264)

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Abstract

Electronic skin (eSkin) with various types of sensors over large conformable substrates has received considerable interest in robotics. The continuous operation of large number of sensors and the readout electronics make it challenging to meet the energy requirements of eSkin. In this article, we present the first energy generating eSkin with intrinsic tactile sensing without any touch sensor. The eSkin comprises a distributed array of miniaturized solar cells and infrared light emitting diodes (IRLEDs) on soft elastomeric substrate. By innovatively reading the variations in the energy output of the solar cells and IRLEDs, the eSkin could sense multiple parameters (proximity, object location, edge detection, etc.). As a proof of concept, the eSkin has been attached to a 3-D-printed hand. With an energy surplus of 383.6 mW from the palm area alone, the eSkin could generate more than 100 W if present over the whole body (area ∼1.5 m2). Further, with an industrial robot arm, the presented eSkin is shown to enable safe human−robot interaction. The novel paradigm presented in this article for the development of a flexible eSkin extends the application of solar cell from energy generation alone to simultaneously acting as touch sensors.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Escobedo, Dr Pablo and Dahiya, Professor Ravinder and Shakthivel, Dr Dhayalan and Navaraj, Mr William and Ntagios, Markellos
Authors: Escobedo, P., Ntagios, M., Shakthivel, D., Navaraj, W. T., and Dahiya, R.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering > Electronics and Nanoscale Engineering
Journal Name:IEEE Transactions on Robotics
Publisher:IEEE
ISSN:1552-3098
ISSN (Online):1941-0468
Published Online:02 November 2020
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2020 The Authors
First Published:First published in IEEE Transactions on Robotics 37(2): 683-690
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons licence

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
301728Engineering Fellowships for Growth: Printed Tactile SKINRavinder DahiyaEngineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)EP/R029644/1ENG - Electronics & Nanoscale Engineering
170185Engineering Fellowships for Growth: Printed Tactile SKINRavinder DahiyaEngineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)EP/M002527/1ENG - Electronics & Nanoscale Engineering