Dielectric elastomer vibrissal system for active tactile sensing

Andrew T. Conn*, Martin J. Pearson, Anthony G. Pipe, Jason Welsby, Jonathan Rossiter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Rodents are able to dexterously navigate confined and unlit environments by extracting spatial and textural information with their whiskers (or vibrissae). Vibrissal-based active touch is suited to a variety of applications where vision is occluded, such as search-and-rescue operations in collapsed buildings. In this paper, a compact dielectric elastomer vibrissal system (DEVS) is described that mimics the vibrissal follicle-sinus complex (FSC) found in rodents. Like the vibrissal FSC, the DEVS encapsulates all sensitive mechanoreceptors at the root of a passive whisker within an antagonistic muscular system. Typically, rats actively whisk arrays of macro-vibrissae with amplitudes of up to +/- 25 degrees. It is demonstrated that these properties can be replicated by exploiting the characteristic large actuation strains and passive compliance of dielectric elastomers. A prototype DEVS is developed using VHB 4905 and embedded strain gauges bonded to the root of a tapered whisker. The DEVS is demonstrated to produce a maximum rotational output of +/- 22.8 degrees. An electro-mechanical model of the DEVS is derived, which incorporates a hyperelastic material model and Euler-Bernoulli beam equations. The model is shown to predict experimental measurements of whisking stroke amplitude and whisker deflection.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationElectroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2012
EditorsY BarCohen
Place of PublicationBELLINGHAM
PublisherSociety of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE)
Number of pages10
Volume8340-13
ISBN (Print)978-0-8194-8997-5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012
EventConference on Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) - San Diego, Canada
Duration: 12 Mar 201215 Mar 2012

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE
PublisherSPIE-INT SOC OPTICAL ENGINEERING
Volume8340
ISSN (Print)0277-786X

Conference

ConferenceConference on Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD)
CountryCanada
CitySan Diego
Period12/03/1215/03/12

Bibliographical note

Conference Proceedings/Title of Journal: Proceedings of SPIE
Conference Organiser: SPIE

Structured keywords

  • Tactile Action Perception

Keywords

  • electro-active polymer
  • dielectric elastomer
  • cone actuator
  • Ogden hyperelastic model
  • active touch
  • tactile sensing
  • RHYTHMIC WHISKING
  • RAT
  • ACTUATORS
  • DESIGN
  • ROBOTS
  • MOTOR

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