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Touchless Sensing Interface Based on the Magneto-Piezoresistive Effect of Magnetic Microstructures with Stacked Conductive Coating

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posted on 15.12.2021, 07:35 by Weiguan Zhang, Qinhua Guo, Yu Duan, Qunhui Xu, Chao Shang, Ning Li, Zhengchun Peng
Robotics capable of human-like operations need to have electronic skin (e-skin) with not only tactile sensing functions but also proximity perception abilities. Especially, under the current widespread of COVID-19 pandemic, touchless interfaces are highly desirable. Magnetoreception, with inherent specificity for magnetic objects, is an effective approach to construct a non-contact sensing e-skin. In this work, we propose a new touchless sensing mechanism based on the magneto-piezoresistive effect. The substrate of the sensor is made of hierarchically microstructured ferromagnetic polydimethylsiloxane, coated with a three-dimensional (3D) piezoresistive network. The 3D network is constructed by stacked layers of reduced graphene oxide and carbon nanotubes through layer-by-layer deposition. With this integrated design, a magnetic force induced on the ferromagnetic substrate can seamlessly be applied to the piezoresistive layer of the sensor. Because the magnetic force relates strongly to the approaching distance, the position information can be transduced into the resistance change of the piezoresistive network. The flexible proximity sensor exhibits an ultrahigh spatial resolution of 60 μm, a sensitivity of 50.47 cm–1, a wide working range of 6 cm, and a fast response of 10 ms. The repeatable performance of the sensor is shown by over 5000 cycles of approaching–separation test. We also demonstrate successful application of the sensor in 3D positioning and motion tracking settings, which is critical for touchless tactile perception-based human–machine interactions.