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A Deformable Foam-Layered Triboelectric Tactile Sensor with Adjustable Dynamic Range


The triboelectric effect utilizes the electric potential of materials to generate an electrical output through electrostatic induction between the two oppositely charged surfaces, which grants them unique self-powered characteristics. By utilizing this effect, self-powered tactile sensors have been studied in the previous researches. However, the conventional triboelectric tactile sensors have drawbacks of limited dynamic range due to the decreasing sensitivity under increased applied pressures. Owing to this disadvantage, the triboelectric tactile sensor has not been extensively employed in smart manufacturing applications where a consistently high sensitivity within the dynamic range is preferred. In order to address this issue, a lightweight, compact, bio-friendly and highly sensitive self-powered triboelectric tactile sensor has been investigated based on the triboelectric effect. By integration of deformable foam layer, triboelectric tactile sensor is able to shift the dynamic range by 76–98 kPa without having to employ gain adjustment circuit board or modifying the properties of the sensor (geometric, materials, etc.). The proposed tactile sensor can be employed in various smart manufacturing applications in which light, self-powered, and high-performance tactile sensors are required to reduce the weight and energy consumption.

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Fig. 4



Open-circuit voltage (V)

Pa :

Applied pressure/stress (Pa)

Fa :

Applied force (N)

Asensor :

Sensor area (m2)


Sensor stiffness (N/m)


Deformation in the direction of the applied pressure (m)

L0 :

Initial thickness of the sensor (m)

εa :

Elastic strain


Elastic modulus (Pa)


PDMS layer stiffness (N/m)


Initial thickness of the PDMS layer (m)


Deformation of the PDMS layer (m)

kFoam :

Foam layer stiffness (N/m)

LFoam0 :

Initial thickness of the foam layer (m)

dLFoam :

Deformation of the foam layer (m)


Elastic modulus of the PDMS layer (Pa)

EFoam :

Elastic modulus of the foam layer (Pa)


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Dongun Lee and Jihoon Chung contributed equally to this work. This research was supported by the Chung-Ang University Research Scholarship Grants in 2014. This research was supported by Nano Material Technology Development Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF-2016M3A7B4910532).

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Correspondence to Sangmin Lee or Dongjun Shin.

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Lee, D., Chung, J., Yong, H. et al. A Deformable Foam-Layered Triboelectric Tactile Sensor with Adjustable Dynamic Range. Int. J. of Precis. Eng. and Manuf.-Green Tech. 6, 43–51 (2019).

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  • Deformable foam layer
  • Triboelectric tactile sensor
  • Adjustable dynamic range
  • Self-powered