There are numerous sensors for understanding the position, movement and various other parameters of a robotic system. But robots such as grippers still lack the ability to comprehend the material they are touching/holding and its relationship with it. Force transducers can tell the gripper when there is something pushing against it but not more.
How does a system comprehend how strong is the material pushing against the surface? Is the material slipping and what is the direction it is moving in? How can the system incorporate this data into some form of a closed loop mechanism to hold the material with the ideal amount of force ? The objective of this project is to answer these questions by developing an open source sensor which will consist of an array of MEMS pressure sensors with built-in intelligence.
The idea is based on the concept of designing discrete pressure sensing points as a known mathematical array and connected in a circuit board with simple communication interface. The array will be embedded in soft silicone rubber which comes in contact with the material (being held by the gripper). The output from the sensor can then be fed to the main MCU as a closed loop mechanism to improve the positional activity of the gripper.