Large Area All-Elastomer Tactile Arrays for Robotic Skins
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This work demonstrates the first low cost, all-elastomer capacitive tactile arrays compatible with roll-to-roll manufacturing. A new manufacturing process has been developed in which elastomer sheets are covered with a stencil, spray coated with conductive elastomer on one or both sides, and stacked to create the sensor array. These arrays are highly flexible and can withstand large strains. Sensor costs are below $0.12/sensor in small quantities. Some variants in the fabrication process result in a slightly curved sensor so the change in capacitance is highly nonlinear at low pressures, but approaches theoretical sensitivities at higher pressures. The sensors have been determined to be highly sensitive, with a sensor resolution of 0.5 Pa and reveal a repeatable response from 1 kPa up to 120 kPa. A variety of materials ranging in modulus, thickness and texture were investigated for static, dynamic, and spatial location testing.