Patent Number: 7,823,467

Title: Tactile sensors

Abstract: An electroactive polymer is used to produce a tactile sensor. The electroactive polymer (EAP) includes a sheet of an ion-exchange membrane having opposite surfaces on which are plated gold electrodes. The EAP is formed to have a dome-shape with a plurality of sensing electrodes circumferentially disposed around an outer surface of the dome. A flexible polymer underlying the EAP supports it and prevents a force applied to the tactile sensor from inverting the dome. The sensor electrodes produce separate output signals indicative of different vector components of an applied force acting on the tactile sensor, so that a direction of the force can be determined. Vias provided in the electrodes are electrically coupled to a flexible circuit that conveys the output signals externally from the sensing electrodes for use and further processing. A plurality of the tactile sensors can be formed as an array on an ion-exchange membrane.

Inventors: Taya; Minoru (Mercer Island, WA), Wang; Jin (Seattle, WA), Xu; Chunye (Seattle, WA), Kuga; Yasuo (Seattle, WA)

Assignee: University of Washington

International Classification: G01L 1/10 (20060101); G01L 1/22 (20060101); G01L 3/00 (20060101); G01R 3/00 (20060101)

Expiration Date: 2019-11-02 0:00:00