Six-dimensional force and torque sensor helps robot feel and touch

(Nanowerk News) As an integral part of modern life, sensors are now almost ubiquitous. They measure physical input from the environment and converts it into data that can be interpreted by humans or machines. 
A six-dimensional force/torque sensor was developed by a research team from the Hefei Institutes of Physical Science of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
"It has been over three decades since we started our research in this field," said Prof. SUN Yuxiang, who is also head of the team, "now our sensors have been applied in many fields, including deep sea and aerospace."
The sensor is composed of a mechanical structure and a signal processing module. The signal processing module realizes the functions of analog signal processing, digital signal processing and signal transmission. Their research focuses on the structure of elastomers and signal processing methods.
Six-dimensional force/torque sensor applied on a six-axises manipulator
Six-dimensional force/torque sensor applied on a six-axises manipulator. (Image: ZHAO Weiwei)
An elastomer structure is the core part of multi-dimensional force sensor. Its form affects the sensitivity, dynamic performance and dimensional coupling of the sensor. Signal processing methods include digital filtering, temperature drift compensation, fault tolerance processing, etc., which is an important means to improve the signal-to-noise ratio of the sensor and ensure the accuracy and stability of measurement.
The sensor can be used for real-time force feedback control and mechanical property testing of intelligent robots. It allows robots to simultaneously detect surrounding force and moment information. The dual E-type membrane structure with independent intellectual property rights is adopted to realize the integration of sensitive unit, signal conditioning module, SoC and communication module. With the help of the sensor, robots can feel and touch.
The team is able to offer customized sensor design with high precision and superior stability. "We can meet consumers' needs for tailor-made products at reasonable prices," said SUN.
So far, they have passed a pressure test of 50 megapasals, and the next step is to test them in deeper sea.
Source: Chinese Academy of Sciences
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