Smart Sensor Skin

Period of Performance: 12/28/1994 - 06/28/1995


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Merritt Systems, Inc.
435 Guss Hipp Blvd
Rockledge, FL 32955
Principal Investigator

Research Topics


This project will develop an electronic covering analogous to human skin, which can be mounted on robots or other devices to provide environmental information such as proximity, force and temperature. Merritt Systems Inc. (MSI) proposes to investigate and develop a skin that incorporates a variety of sensing media and to accomplish this task. MSI has previously developed a whole-arm coverage, non-contract proximity sensor system for articulated robots using discrete infrared and acoustical sensor elements on flexible circuit boards (sensorSkin). This implementation can be extended to function like human skin by incorporating additional sensor types: temperature, force/pressure and tactile. MSI will determine operational requirements, develop a preliminary design and determine the feasibility of this sensor sheet during Phase I. We will also investigate an innovative sensing method using instrumented compliant foam components to make up the skin. Additionally, we will investigate several temperature detection methods including contact and non-contact methods. The sensor system will incorporate media-specific snalog circuits, and common microcontroller and serial interface components on a single hybrid PC board. The sensorSkin contains digital communication and power buses, and sockets at discrete locations for mounting the sensor elements. It will be designed to be cut, shaped and bent without losing connectivity.