RobotSweater: Scalable, Generalizable, and Customizable Machine-Knitted Tactile Skins for Robots

Zilin Si, Tianhong Catherine Yu, Katrene Morozov, James McCann, Wenzhen Yuan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Tactile sensing is essential for robots to perceive and react to the environment. However, it remains a challenge to make large-scale and flexible tactile skins on robots. Industrial machine knitting provides solutions to manufacture customiz-able fabrics. Along with functional yarns, it can produce highly customizable circuits that can be made into tactile skins for robots. In this work, we present RobotSweater, a machine-knitted pressure-sensitive tactile skin that can be easily applied on robots. We design and fabricate a parameterized multi-layer tactile skin using off-the-shelf yarns, and characterize our sensor on both a flat testbed and a curved surface to show its robust contact detection, multi-contact localization, and pressure sensing capabilities. The sensor is fabricated using a well-established textile manufacturing process with a programmable industrial knitting machine, which makes it highly customizable and low-cost. The textile nature of the sensor also makes it easily fit curved surfaces of different robots and have a friendly appearance. Using our tactile skins, we conduct closed-loop control with tactile feedback for two applications: (1) human lead-through control of a robot arm, and (2) human-robot interaction with a mobile robot.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings - ICRA 2023
Subtitle of host publicationIEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Pages10352-10358
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9798350323658
DOIs
StatePublished - 2023
Externally publishedYes
Event2023 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, ICRA 2023 - London, United Kingdom
Duration: May 29 2023Jun 2 2023

Publication series

NameProceedings - IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation
Volume2023-May
ISSN (Print)1050-4729

Conference

Conference2023 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, ICRA 2023
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
CityLondon
Period5/29/236/2/23

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Artificial Intelligence

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