Nicholas Wettels

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The performance of robotic and prosthetic hands in unstructured environments is severely limited by their having little or no tactile information compared to the rich tactile feedback of the human hand. We are developing a novel, robust tactile sensor array that mimics the mechanical properties and distributed touch receptors of the human fingertip. It(More)
We have developed a finger-shaped sensor array that provides simultaneous information about the contact forces, microvibrations and thermal fluxes induced by contact with external objects. In this paper, we describe a microprocessor-based signal conditioning and digitizing system for these sensing modalities and its embodiment on a flex-circuit that(More)
We have developed a finger-shaped sensor array (BioTac ) that provides simultaneous information about contact forces, microvibrations and thermal fluxes, mimicking the full cutaneous sensory capabilities of the human finger. For many tasks, such as identifying objects or maintaining stable grasp, these sensory modalities are synergistic. For example,(More)
We are developing a novel, robust tactile sensor array that mimics the human fingertip and its distributed set of touch receptors. The mechanical components are similar to a fingertip, with a rigid core surrounded by a weakly conductive fluid contained within an elastomeric skin. It uses the deformable properties of the finger pad as part of the(More)
Haptics can be defined as the characterization and identification of objects by voluntary exploration and somatosensory feedback. It requires multimodal sensing, motor dexterity, and high levels of cognitive integration with prior experience and fundamental concepts of self versus external world. Humans have unique haptic capabilities that enable tool use.(More)
The BioTac® is a biomimetic tactile sensor for grip control and object characterization. It has three sensing modalities: thermal flux, microvibration and force. In this paper, we discuss feature extraction and interpretation of the force modality data. The data produced by this force sensing modality during sensor-object interaction are monotonic(More)
Grasping of objects by robotic hands in unstructured environments demands a sensor surface that is durable, compliant, and responsive to various force and slip conditions. A compliant and robust skin can be as critical to grasping objects as the sensor it protects. In an effort to combine compliant mechanics and robust sensing, a biomimetic tactile sensor(More)
ON-OFF adhesives can benefit manufacturing and space applications by providing the capability to selectively anchor two surfaces together repeatedly and releasably without significant preload. Two key areas of concern are speed of engagement and sensing the quality of that engagement. Here we describe a dual-purpose proximity and tactile sensor for the(More)
Biomimetic fingertips for robots and prostheses need to combine compliant grip and tactile sensing with robustness in diverse environments. We have evaluated materials for use in a compliant, fluid-filled artificial fingertip that incorporates multimodal sensing of contact, texture and thermal properties. A variety of silicone elastomers were tested for(More)
This paper introduces a new robotic gripper for flat surfaces based on a novel electrostatic/gecko-like adhesive. This unique gripping solution overcomes the shortcomings of vacuum grippers for part-handling by eliminating the need for a compressed air system and offering more rapid actuation, thus achieving significant potential cost savings and throughput(More)