Title: High‐Performance Flexible Tactile Sensor Enabling Intelligent Haptic Perception for a Soft Prosthetic Hand
Abstract: Compared to the traditional motor‐driven prosthetic hand, a soft prosthetic hand (SPD) has intrisic advantages such as kinematics dexterity and friendly external interaction. In order for an SPD to realize the function of a real hand, the integration of flexible high‐performance tactile sensors is essential. Current research on flexible tactile sensors is mainly focused on increasing sensitivity, but ignores other issues, such as the complexity of arraying and compatibility with soft actuators. A high‐performance flexible force sensor enabling intelligent tactile perception for an SPD is reported. With the aid of reasonable arrangement of functional material and effective 3D structure design, the force sensor exhibits good linearity (R2 = 0.982), accuracy and repeatability, very low hysteresis, fast dynamical response (<1 ms), high stability (30000 loading–unloading cycles), stable performance under high frequency (>50 Hz), and can easily be arrayed and integrated with an SPD. With such a sensor mounted on its surface, an SPD achieves various complicated tasks in the same manner as a real hand, including feeling the softness of objects and imitating the process of traditional Chinese medicine pulse diagnosis to monitor a pulse wave in the radial artery. Finally, through use of a force‐sensor array, an SPD provides real‐time spatial distribution of pressure during the grabbing of objects.