Bionic Tactile Sensor for Near-Range Search, Localisation and Material Classification
Insects use their antennae (feelers) as near range sensors for orientation, object localisation and communication. Here, we use the stick insect antenna as a paragon for an actively moved tactile sensor. Our bionic sensor uses vibration signals from contact events for obstacle localisation and classification of material properties. It is shown how distance is coded by salient peaks in the frequency spectrum, and how the damping time constants can be exploited to distinguish between eight objects made of a range of materials. Thus, we demonstrate application of bionic principles for non-visual, reliable, near-range object localisation and material classification that is suitable for autonomous exploratory robots.
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