Melexis unveiled Tactaxis, a fully integrated tactile sensor that improves robots’ ability to interact with fragile or diverse objects.
“Robots need the sense of touch to manipulate fragile objects. For such applications, we have developed a novel magnetic sensor to accurately measure the contact force, while being robust against disturbances,” said Gael Close, Global Innovation Manager at Melexis.
The sensor is accompanied by a magnet which is embedded into an elastomer material. This presents a soft contact interface, emulating the attributes of human skin. The arrangement offers a high sensitivity so that detection of even small amounts of force will generate a response. The achieved force resolution is 2.7mN which is enough to distinguish weight change of ~ 0.3grams. The Tactaxis prototype is highly compact (5 x 5 x 5 mm) and therefore suitable for tight spaces.
The gradiometric approach makes the sensor immune to magnetic stray fields. This prevents potential measurement errors. It is also robust enough to cope with harsh conditions (temperature variations, etc.). Unlike competing optically-based tactile sensors, Tactaxis is completely integrated. It will be possible to produce high volumes of factory-calibrated sensors.