The flexible Artificial Skin

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About CySkin

CySkin is a flexible artificial skin designed for providing objects with the sense of touch.

Made of flexible interconnected triangular modules, the skin can be adapted to different surfaces integrating high-resolution tactile sensors on small and large areas. The tactile feedback is locally processed and transferred on a network of Intelligent Hub Boards (IHBs) that constitute the CySkin nervous system.

Each module embeds 11 pressure sensors, can be cut to easily adapt to different shapes and is locally managed by a microcontroller that acquires tactile information up to 20Hz. Sensors can be grouped in different combinations varying the spatial resolution on-demand.

Up to 32 modules can be directly interconnected to form touch sensitive patches that can be arranged one next to the other to cover larger areas, without any limit. All the patches are synchronized. The tactile sensor acquisition can be started on request, with a user-defined period, and a complete snapshot of the skin is provided within 50ms.

Data acquired from each sensor is processed and sent to an Intelligent Hub Board (IHB). The IHB is a powerful general-purpose microcontroller able to perform additional data processing and to send information to a higher level processing unit using an industrial grade communication bus. We provide a complete set of software tools that allows acquiring, processing and using tactile information in real-time.

How does it work?

The core of CySkin is a triangular module hosting 11 pressure sensors based on capacitive technology, a Capacitance to Digital Converter and a microcontroller for data acquisition, synchronization and transmission. The module starts the sensors acquistion upon request, after receiving a synchronization message, and goes to sleep (low power mode) during idle time. All the sensors of CySkin can be acquired at the same time providing a snapshot of the tactile system every 50ms.

Each module can be uniquely identified and adressed, regardless the network structure, and can be independently monitored, configured and upgraded. To reduce the troughput of the skin, each module can be reconfigured to provide a single pressure measurement as average of the 11 sensors. Up to 128 modules can be managed by a single IHB

CySkin Technical Details

  • Power Supply: 3.3V
  • Power Consumption:  0.1uW (idle), 1mW (operational)
  • Module Area: Max 3.8cm2, Min 1.5 cm2 (after cut)
  • Sample time: 50ms
  • Spatial resolution: 7mm

Figures for a 2m2 system:

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