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Frontiers of Chemical Science and Engineering

Front. Chem. Sci. Eng.    2020, Vol. 14 Issue (6) : 1039-1051
A thermally flexible and multi-site tactile sensor for remote 3D dynamic sensing imaging
Guoting Xia1, Yinuo Huang1, Fujiang Li2, Licheng Wang3, Jinbo Pang4, Liwei Li1, Kai Wang1()
1. School of Electrical Engineering, Qingdao University, Qingdao 266000, China
2. Department of Pediatric Surgery, Affiliated Hospital of Qingdao University, Qingdao 266000, China
3. College of Information Engineering, Zhejiang University of Technology, Hangzhou 310023, China
4. Collaborative Innovation Center of Technology and Equipment for Biological Diagnosis and Therapy in Universities of Shandong, Institute for Advanced Interdisciplinary Research (iAIR), Jinan University, Jinan 250022, China
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A flexible, multi-site tactile and thermal sensor (MTTS) based on polyvinylidene fluoride (resolution 50 × 50) is reported. It can be used to implement spatial mapping caused by tactile and thermal events and record the two-dimensional motion trajectory of a tracked target object. The output voltage and current signal are recorded as a mapping by sensing the external pressure and thermal radiation stimulus, and the response distribution is dynamically observed on the three-dimensional interface. Through the mapping relationship between the established piezoelectric and pyroelectric signals, the piezoelectric component and the pyroelectric component are effectively extracted from the composite signals. The MTTS has a good sensitivity for tactile and thermal detection, and the electrodes have good synchronism. In addition, the signal interference is less than 9.5% and decreases as the pressure decreases after the distance between adjacent sites exceeds 200 µm. The integration of MTTS and signal processing units has potential applications in human-machine interaction systems, health status detection and smart assistive devices.

Keywords tactile/thermal sensor      piezoelectric/pyroelectric effects      high resolution      spatial mapping      motion monitoring     
Corresponding Author(s): Kai Wang   
Just Accepted Date: 27 December 2019   Online First Date: 25 February 2020    Issue Date: 11 September 2020
 Cite this article:   
Guoting Xia,Yinuo Huang,Fujiang Li, et al. A thermally flexible and multi-site tactile sensor for remote 3D dynamic sensing imaging[J]. Front. Chem. Sci. Eng., 2020, 14(6): 1039-1051.
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Guoting Xia
Yinuo Huang
Fujiang Li
Licheng Wang
Jinbo Pang
Liwei Li
Kai Wang
Fig.1  Preparation process and structural characteristics of MTTS: (a) PVDF preparation process flow chart, (b) phase structure change of PVDF molecules during electrospinning, (c) SEM images of PVDF film, (d) XRD pattern of PVDF film, and (e) FTIR spectrum of PVDF film.
Fig.2  Principle and test circuit of MTTS: (a) physical structure of MTTS, (b) piezoelectric and pyroelectric operation principle, (c) MTTS equivalent model and test circuit model, and (d) bending finite element simulation model.
Fig.3  Piezoelectric and Thermoelectric characteristics of MTTS: (a) output voltage test in the single-electrode press-release mode, (b) different load output voltage test (the illustration shows the EJJ type load test platform), (c) cyclic recovery test for different pressure levels, (d) MTTS voltage and current output performance with external load, (e) power density of the MTTS to external loads, (f) durability test of 2500 cycles with the pressure of 1 Hz / 60 kPa, (g) effect of pressing frequency on output current, (h) application of the different temperature gradient at same initial temperatures, and (i) output response at different temperature gradients.
Fig.4  Compound stimulation perception test: (a) pressure sensing test at different temperatures (the inset shows the piezoelectric sensitivity KS at different temperatures), (b) temperature sensing test under different pressures (the inset shows the pyroelectric sensitivity KT at different pressures), (c) signal response time and signal recovery time test, (d) signal response time test at different temperatures, (e) signal recovery time test at different temperatures, and (f) estimated signal component and actual composite response signal.
Item 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
P/kPa 0 0 80 80 80 0 40 20
T0/K 353 253 353 303 303 303 303 283
DT/K 0 40 0 0 20 20 20 40
Tres/ms 119.3 67.8 121.3 104.2 102.6 103.7 101.9 94.3
Trec/ms 895.6 620.5 891.6 723.1 825.6 826.7 829.1 824.5
*VP/mV 0 0 44.9 42.1 42.5 0 22.6 12.4
*VT/mV 0 12.8 0 0 6.1 6.4 6.2 12.9
*V/mV 0 12.8 44.9 42.1 48.6 6.4 28.8 25.3
V/mV 0 12.5 46.2 43.5 49.7 6.2 30.2 23.4
**Error/% 0 2.4 2.8 3.2 2.2 3.1 4.6 8.1
Tab.1  Pressure and temperature stimuli test conditions and results
Fig.5  MTTS signal crosstalk tests: (a) synchronization test of the electrode array (the inset shows the pressure point), (b) signal interference unit array (the inset shows the pressure point), (c) the output current at different distances from adjacent electrodes, (d) dependence of KS on the distance between two adjacent electrodes, (e) the relationship of the interference voltage with the stress when the thickness of the piezoelectric layer is increased, and (f) potential output test at different electrode sizes (the inset shows the potential simulation of a 2 mm2 unit at a pressure of 1 Hz/65 kPa).
Fig.6  Pyroelectric/piezoelectric effect analysis. (a) Infrared thermography analysis test; (b) experimental block thermal radiation sensing test; (c) palm thermal radiation sensing tes; (d) experimental block thermal imaging map; (e) experimental block thermoelectric effect electrical signal output; (f) palm thermal imaging map; (g) palm thermoelectric effect electrical signal output; (h) Hhuman feet pressure test; (i, j) human feet piezoelectric signal output.
Fig.7  MTTS motion trajectory tracking: (a) the experimental pulley motion trajectory curve and mapping; (b,c) the x, y channel mapping trajectories, respectively; (d) experimental pulley voltage output trajectory recording; (e?h) experimental pulley motion trajectory voltage-position responses.
Fig.8  Human pressure and temperature sensing tests: (a) hand surface pressure sensing test, (b) piezoelectric signal distribution of the hand, (c) hand pyroelectric signal distribution, (d) foot surface pressure sensing test, (e) piezoelectric signal distribution at the foot, and (f) foot pyroelectric signal distribution.
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