Soft haptics using soft actuator and soft sensor


In this paper, we presented fabric-based soft tactile actuator and soft sensor. The force characterization result indicates that the actuator is able to produce force up to about 2.20(±0.017)N, when it is supplied with 80kPa of pressurized air. Hence it is capable of producing sufficient amount of force, which surpasses the human’s haptic perception threshold. The thin, sheet nature of the material creates lightweight actuator, which improves the payload-to-weight ratio. The pneumatic-based operation principle creates a safer human-machine interface. Thus, it eliminates possible occurrence of safety issues such as the danger of applying high voltages to user’s skin in case of malfunction. Direct force coupling of the soft actuator with the sensor is established to enable transmission of force information from the sensor to the actuator. The test profile indicates that the actuator is able to produce similar force profile as that of the sensor. This opens up possibility of developing soft tactile sensors and actuators based gloves, which can be paired and applied in virtual-reality based training and rehabilitation programs. Superimposition of multiple soft actuators would create an array that provides shape and size specific haptic feedback.

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