This paper describes a hemispheric tactile sensor based on a hetero-core optical fiber for texture and hardness detection in a small contact area. The hetero-core fiber optic sensors developed in our laboratory have been proved to have several attractive advantages such as high sensitivity to soft bending, immunity to temperature fluctuation and cost-effective scheme. The hemisphere-shaped hetero-core fiber optic tactile sensor converts the applied force into the bending curvature on a hetero-core optical fiber. To evaluate the detection performance of minute-structured rough surface, the proposed sensor was tested for scanning on a cloth with the periodic pattern of 0.74 mm. Additionally, it was confirmed that the sensor was able to detect local hardness distributions of hard plastic lumps which were embedded into silicone rubbers. It was furthermore discussed that the sensor can be applied for precise discrimination of such household objects as several kinds of papers with different texture and hardness.
This paper describes a novel temperature sensor based on a hetero-core structured fiber optic surface plasmon resonance (SPR) sensor with multi-layer thin film of gold (Au) and titanium dioxide (TiO<sub>2</sub>). Temperature condition is an essential parameter in chemical plants for avoiding fire accident and controlling qualities of chemical substances. Several fiber optic temperature sensors have been developed for some advantages such as immunity to electromagnetic interference, corrosion resistance and no electrical leakage. The proposed hetero-core fiber optic SPR sensor detects temperature condition by measuring slight refractive index changes of TiO<sub>2</sub> which has a large thermo-optic coefficient. We experimentally confirmed that the SPR resonant wavelength in the hetero-core SPR sensor with coating an Au film which slightly depended on temperature changes in the range from 20 °C to 80 °C. In addition, it was experimentally shown that the proposed SPR temperature sensor with multi-layer film of Au and TiO<sub>2</sub> had the SPR resonant wavelength shift of 1.6 nm due to temperature change from -10 °C to 50 °C. As a result, a series of experiments successfully demonstrated that the proposed sensor was able to detect temperature directly depending on the thermo-optic effect of TiO<sub>2</sub>.
This paper describes a novel tactile sensor using a hetero-core fiber optic sensor for detecting particular tactile information of surface texture and hardness. The hetero-core fiber optic sensor consists of two single-mode fibers with different core diameters, which can detect soft bending on a sensor portion, moreover being tolerant to several environmental fluctuation such as corrosion, temperature fluctuation and electromagnetic interference. The hetero-core fiber optic tactile sensor was designed in order to detect contact force by means of the hetero-core fiber optic sensor implanted in three-point bending structure. Force property of the tactile sensor was experimentally confirmed to be highly-sensitive in reaction to force given in the range of 0.01 - 5.0 N. Therefore, it was observed that the tactile sensor could detect minute level change of surface texture in the height of 0.01 mm with the spatial accuracy within 0.10 mm. In addition, the degree of hardness and the other physical property of viscoelasticity could be detected by pushing the tactile sensor on materials. As a result, it was successfully performed that the proposed tactile sensor could detect various kinds of tactile information with high sensitivity.
In this report, we have designed a tactile sensitive sheet based on a hetero-core fiber-optic sensor, which realize an areal sensing by using single sensor potion in one optical fiber line. Recently, flexible and wide-area tactile sensing technology is expected to applied to acquired biological information in living space and robot achieve long-term care services such as welfare and nursing-care and humanoid technology. A hetero-core fiber-optic sensor has several advantages such as thin and flexible transmission line, immunity to EMI. Additionally this sensor is sensitive to moderate bending actions with optical loss changes and is independent of temperature fluctuation. Thus, the hetero-core fiber-optic sensor can be suitable for areal tactile sensing. We measure pressure characteristic of the proposed sensitive sheet by changing the pressure position and pinching characteristic on the surface. The proposed tactile sensitive sheet shows monotonic responses on the whole sensitive sheet surface although different sensitivity by the position is observed at the sensitive sheet surface. Moreover, the tactile sensitive sheet could sufficiently detect the pinching motion. In addition, in order to realize the discrimination between pressure and pinch, we fabricated a doubled-over sensor using a set of tactile sensitive sheets, which has different kinds of silicon robbers as a sensitive sheet surface. In conclusion, the flexible material could be given to the tactile sensation which is attached under proposed sensitive sheet.
Tactile sensing technology can measure a given property of an object through physical contact between a sensing element and the object. Various tactile sensing techniques have been developed for several applications such as intelligent robots, tactile interface, medical support and nursing care support. A desirable tactile sensing element for supporting human daily life can be embedded in the soft material with high sensitivity and accuracy in order to prevent from damaging to human or object physically. This report describes a new tactile sensing element. Hetero-core optical fibers have high sensitivity of macro-bending at local sensor portion and temperature independency, including advantages of optical fiber itself; thin size, light weight, flexible transmission line, and immunity to electro-magnetic interference. The proposed tactile sensing element could detect textures of touched objects through the optical loss caused by the force applied to the sensing element. The characteristics of the sensing element have been evaluated, in which the sensing element has the monotonic and non-linear sensitivity against the normal force ranged from 0 to 5 N with lower accuracy than 0.25 dB. Additionally, texture detection have been successfully demonstrated in which small surface figures of 0.1 mm in height were detected with spatial resolution of 0.4 mm.