Effect of elastomer characteristics on fiber optic force sensing performance in biomedical robotics applications
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Miniaturized and “smart” sensors are required for research in biology, physiology, and biomechanics, and they have extremely important clinical applications for diagnostics and minimally invasive surgery. Fiber optic sensors have been proven to provide advantages compared to conventional sensors and high potential for biomechanical and biomedical applications. They are small, easy to operate, minimally invasive with low risk, more accurate, and inexpensive. This paper reports the design and modeling of a fiber optic force sensor that is capable of measuring compliance for a contact force of up to 1 N. The main objective of this study is to design and model a fiber optic sensor capable of measuring the total force applied on an object. A polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) elastomer film with a thickness of 1.2 mm is placed between an optical fiber tip and an object, and it is used for measuring the force applied on a rigid element. The compliance of the fiber optic force sensor is measured by recording the response of PDMS elastomer films under different load conditions. We use finite element modeling results as a basis for comparing experimental data. The agreement between theoretical predictions and experimental data is reasonable and within an acceptable range.
KeywordsElastomer Force sensor Optical fiber MATLAB analysis FEM analysis ANSYS simulation LabVIEW Biomedical robotics
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