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Large-Area, Crosstalk-Free, Flexible Tactile Sensor Matrix Pixelated by Mesh Layers

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posted on 08.03.2021, 14:07 authored by Kyubin Bae, Jinho Jeong, Jongeun Choi, Soonjae Pyo, Jongbaeg Kim
Tactile sensor arrays have attracted considerable attention for their use in diverse applications, such as advanced robotics and interactive human–machine interfaces. However, conventional tactile sensor arrays suffer from electrical crosstalk caused by current leakages between the tactile cells. The approaches that have been proposed thus far to overcome this issue require complex rectifier circuits or a serial fabrication process. This article reports a flexible tactile sensor array fabricated through a batch process using a mesh. A carbon nanotube–polydimethylsiloxane composite is used to form an array of sensing cells in the mesh through a simple “dip-coating” process and is cured into a concave shape. The contact area between the electrode and the composite changes significantly under pressure, resulting in an excellent sensitivity (5.61 kPa–1) over a wide range of pressure up to 600 kPa. The mesh separates the composite into the arranged sensing cells to prevent the electrical connection between adjacent cells and simultaneously connects each cell mechanically. Additionally, the sensor shows superior durability compared with previously reported tactile sensors because the mesh acts as a support beam. Furthermore, the tactile sensor array is successfully utilized as a Braille reader via information processing based on machine learning.