Rapid manufacturing of color-based hemispherical soft tactile fingertips

R.B.N. Scharff, D. Boonstra, L. Willemet, X. Lin, M. Wiertlewski*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
97 Downloads (Pure)


Tactile sensing can provide access to information about the contact (i.e. slippage, surface feature, friction), which is out of reach of vision but crucial for manipulation. To access this information, a dense measurement of the deformation of soft fingertips is necessary. Recently, tactile sensors that rely on a camera looking at a deformable membrane have demonstrated that a dense measurement of the contact is possible. However, their manufacturing can be time-consuming and labor-intensive. Here, we show a new design method that uses multi-color additive manufacturing and silicone casting to efficiently manufacture soft marker-based tactile sensors that are able to capture with high-resolution the three-dimensional deformation field at the interface. Each marker is composed of two superimposed color filters. The subtractive color mixing encodes the normal deformation of the membrane, and the lateral deformation is found by centroid detection. With this manufacturing method, we can reach a density of 400 markers on a 21 mm radius hemisphere, allowing for regular and dense measurement of the deformation. We calibrated and validated the approach by finding the curvature of objects with a threefold increase in accuracy as compared to previous implementations. The results demonstrate a simple yet effective approach to manufacturing artificial fingertips for capturing a rich image of the tactile interaction at the location of contact.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 5th International Conference on Soft Robotics (RoboSoft 2022)
ISBN (Print)978-1-6654-0828-8
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Event5th International Conference on Soft Robotics, RoboSoft 2022 - Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Duration: 4 Apr 20228 Apr 2022


Conference5th International Conference on Soft Robotics, RoboSoft 2022
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository 'You share, we take care!' - Taverne project https://www.openaccess.nl/en/you-share-we-take-care
Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


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