Z. Chai, X. Ke, Han Chen
Oct 19, 2021
ACS applied materials & interfaces
High-performance tactile sensors are urgently demanded in various intensive interactive scenarios, e.g., texture detection, robotic interaction with fragile objects, and motion direction recognition, where dynamic conditions are involved with complex tangential forces or vibrations. Although many microstructured/porous sensors can perceive tangential forces, their isotropic structures that lack programmability lead them to be incapable of sensing the direction of forces and restrain their tunability for complex situations, e.g., a wide sensing range for large forces and high sensitivity for gentle forces. Here, by tuning the programmable microstructures (microcolumns and microfilms) of an elastomeric active layer, we propose a simple principle to flexibly tune the shear sensitivity of an anisotropic porous sensor and bring a 10-fold distinction of anisotropy with a wide range of shear sensitivity (from 0.07 to 0.7 N-1). The fabricated tactile sensors can be used in various robotic manipulations resiliently, for instance, morphology and topology identification of curved surfaces, delicate interactive manipulations, and recognizing the relative motion of two contacting objects. Our work introduces a simple and effective strategy for tailoring flexible shear-sensitive sensors for diverse dexterous robotic manipulations during complex interactions.