Tactile Force Sensor Gives Robots a Sense of Touch

May 3, 2023
Melexis unveiled its Tactaxis prototype, a magnetometer with an elastomer and a magnet embedded inside that measures force in three directions.

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Melexis' Tactaxis integrated tactile sensor is a compact and soft device that provides 3D force vector information to improve the performance capability of a robot's hands and grippers, making delicate operations like fruit picking possible. The prototype features multiple 3D magnetometer pixels leveraging the company's Triaxis technology.

The sensor uses a magnet embedded into an elastomer material with a soft contact interface, emulating the attributes of human skin. Its high sensitivity ensures that detection of even small amounts of force will generate a response, with an achieved force resolution of 2.7 mN, enough to distinguish weight changes of fractions of a gram (~ 0.3 gram).

The Tactaxis prototype measures just 5 × 5 × 5 mm. Its gradiometric approach makes the sensor immune to magnetic stray fields, preventing potential measurement errors. Robust enough to cope with harsh conditions, Tactaxis is completely integrated and can be mounted almost anywhere force must be measured.

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