Cranny, A, Cotton, D P J, Chappell, P H, Beeby, S P and White, N M
Thick-film force, slip and temperature sensors for a prosthetic hand.
Measurement Science and Technology, 16, .
Thick-film static and dynamic force sensors have been investigated for their suitability to measure the grip forces exerted upon an object held by a prosthetic hand, and to detect and correspondingly react to the possible slip of a gripped item. The static force sensors exploit the piezoresistive characteristics of commercially available thick-film pastes whilst the dynamic slip sensors utilise the piezoelectric behaviour of proprietary PZT pastes (lead zirconate titanate). The sensors are located upon stainless steel cantilever type structures that will be placed at the fingertips of each digit of the prosthetic hand. Temperature sensors are also included to provide temperature compensation for the force sensors and to prevent accidental thermal damage to the prosthesis. Results have shown that the static force sensor is capable of measuring fingertip forces in excess of 100 N, with an electrical half-bridge configuration sensitivity approaching 10 μV/V•N (with scope for improvement) and maximum hysteresis below 4% of full scale, depending on the manner by which the cantilever sensor array is attached to the finger. Failure in the bonding mechanism that secures the PZT layer to the stainless steel cantilever meant that the proposed dynamic force sensor could not be evaluated. However, investigations using the same sensor design fabricated on an alumina substrate have shown the potential of the PZT dynamic force sensor to measure vibration and hence potentially operate as a slip sensor.
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