Multimodal Tactile Sensor

  • Nicholas Wettels
  • Jeremy A. Fishel
  • Gerald E. Loeb
Part of the Springer Tracts in Advanced Robotics book series (STAR, volume 95)


We have developed a finger-shaped sensor array (BioTac®) that provides simultaneous information about contact forces, microvibrations and thermal fluxes, mimicking the full cutaneous sensory capabilities of the human finger. For many tasks, such as identifying objects or maintaining stable grasp, these sensory modalities are synergistic. For example, information about the material composition of an object can be inferred from the rate of heat transfer from a heated finger to the object, but only if the location and force of contact are well controlled. In this chapter we introduce the three sensing modalities of our sensor and consider how they can be used synergistically. Tactile sensing and signal processing is necessary for human dexterity and is likely to be required in mechatronic systems such as robotic and prosthetic limbs if they are to achieve similar dexterity.


Force and tactile sensing Biomimetics Dexterous manipulation Thermal sensing Texture 



This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0912260 Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicholas Wettels
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jeremy A. Fishel
    • 1
    • 2
  • Gerald E. Loeb
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Syntouch LLCLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.Department of Biomedical EngineeringUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

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