TOM precontact

Collision Avoidance with Pre-contact Sensing

Key Features

  • Flexible Concept      -   scalable unit size, extendable sensor platform, technology independent concept
  • Self-organization      -   sensor network, mapping on robot, tactile motion primitives
  • Intelligent Unit Cell   -   multiple modalities, local ADC and pre-processing, cell-2-cell communication
  • Robust Design          -   redundant wiring, failure isolating network, shock absorbing covers


CellulARSkin is a robust, multi-modal, cellular artificial skin. A large area skin can be easily built, by placing its hexagonal shaped sensor cells next to each other into customized elastomer molds.  Each elemental cell features multiple sensor modalities, emulating human cues of touch like: the detection of light touch, normal force, vibration and temperature.The 3D micro-structured elastomer layer does not only protect the sensors, but also enhance tactile sensation e.g. by focusing mechanical stress onto the discrete force sensors. Each cell locally converts, pre-processes and organises all sensors - reducing the data transfer and processing load towards higher level stages. The local approach also makes the sensor signals robust against noise and the skin against component failure. A redundant cell-2-cell communication provides robustness against cell and connection failures. Skin as a surface sensor network is vulnerable to such failure, as every physical interaction of an object is grounded on its surface. CellulARSkin has been developed to give (humanoid) robots an enriching sense of touch - but touch without body knowledge is of minor use. Therefor a set of self-organisation algorithms have been developed. Besides network autonomy those algorithms automatically explore the placement of sensor cells on robots. We can already provide algorithms to distinguish which body parts sensors have been placed on, explore the structural dependencies of joints and body parts, reconstruct the 3D shape of body parts and self-explore motion primitives.

CellulARSkin provides the framework for a robust and self-organizing surface sensor network. Naturally numerous other applications are possible e.g. to sensitise other (every-day) objects like chairs, floors/walls or cars. CellulARSkin is a technology independent concept - the current prototype (V2.0) is only an instantiation with available standard technologies. In the coming years we will miniaturize the design and further improve it's performance.

Our motto is: "Sense now - But keep in touch with the future!" 

© CellulARSkin 2014