Researchers at Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU) in Korea have developed artificial skin tactile sensors that can feel the similar pressure and vibration felt by human skin. The team, led by Senior Researcher Changsoon Choi at DGIST Department of Smart Textile Convergence Research and Dr. Sungwoo Chun at Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU), developed a new-concept artificial skin-based sensor that detects both pressure and vibration at the same time and effectively measures texture.
The new sensors not only detect pressure and vibration, but also convert the surface roughness of a material into electrical signals to identify, with more sensitive and accurate detections of physical stimulations. The sensors mimicked both 'Slow Adaptive (SA)' receptors that detect pressure and 'Fast Adaptive (FA)' receptors which detect the vibration and roughness.
The tactile sensors are in a flexible film-form that consist of an upper panel with human fingerprint-like micro patterns, a middle panel with a vibrator sensor mimicking FA receptors, and a lower panel with a pressure sensor mimicking SA receptors. Dr. Choi's team used the principle of identifying roughness by measuring the vibration of friction electrical signals that are generated through object surface, to mimic FA receptors. Along with the sensors developed and the upper panel mimicking fingerprints, the team succeeded in classifying the roughness of 12 fabrics with more than 99% classification accuracy.
The sensors open the potential of artificial skin grafting for patients who need skin graft as a result of accidents to have real skin sense, which will bring huge effects to the related fields. The new sensors will enable users to feel the senses through actual skin during a VR experience in a suit built with a tactile sensor.