Design and Characterization of Three-Axis High Range Inductive Tactile Force Sensor Utilizing Magnetorheological Elastomer for Robotic Surgical Applications

Muhammad A. Khalid, Muhammad M. Saleem, Syed A. R. Bukhari, Mohsin I. Tiwana, Rana I. Shakoor, Rebecca Cheung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

This paper presents a three-axis inductive tactile force sensor utilizing a magnetorheological elastomer (MRE) marker for inducing inductance change in square-shaped coils, in response to an input force. The sensor consists of copper coils on a printed circuit board (PCB) and a patterned elastomer layer between the marker and coils. The proposed configuration of the coils reduces the mechanical cross-talk between the applied three-axis forces, thus decoupling the force axes. Finite element method (FEM) based analyses are carried out to optimize the sensing gap between the coils and marker. To observe the effect of the elastomer material on the sensor performance, two types of silicone rubbers, Ecoflex-30 and RTV-528 are used to make the patterned elastomer and the marker. The sensor with Ecoflex-30 elastomer can measure forces up to 25 N in normal and 2.5 N in shear directions whereas the sensor with RTV-528 elastomer has a higher force range of up to 30 N for normal and 6 N for shear directions but has a lower sensitivity. A resolution of 12.71 mN, 7.96 mN and 6.61 mN is achieved with Ecoflex-30 whereas for RTV-528 the force resolution is 76.52 mN, 11.7 mN and 23.98 mN for normal, shear and angular shear directions respectively. The hysteresis error for the proposed sensors is 7.2% and 5.3% for Ecoflex-30 and RTV-528 elastomers, respectively. The proposed inductive tactile force sensor can be used in a wide range of robotic surgical applications for sensing multi-directional forces with better resolution and low hysteresis error.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-1
JournalIEEE Sensors Journal
Early online date23 Nov 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 Nov 2022

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Force sensor
  • flexible sensor
  • inductance measurement
  • magnetorheological elastomer
  • tactile sensor

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