A New Silicone Structure for uSkin - A Soft, Distributed, Digital 3-Axis Skin Sensor and Its Integration on the Humanoid Robot iCub

Tito Pradhono Tomo, Massimo Regoli, Alexander Schmitz, Lorenzo Natale, Harris Kristanto, Sophon Somlor, Lorenzo Jamone, Giorgio Metta, Shigeki Sugano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Citations (Scopus)


Tactile sensing is one important element that can enable robots to interact with an unstructured world. By having tactile perception, a robot can explore its environment by touching objects. Like human skin, a tactile sensor that can provide rich information such as distributed normal and shear forces with high density can help the robot to recognize objects. In previous work, we introduced uSkin, a soft skin with distributed 3-axis force-sensitive elements and a center-to-center distance between the 3-axis load cells of 4.7 mm for the flat version. This letter presents a new structure for the distributed soft force transducer that reduces the crosstalk between the components of the 3-axis force measurements. Three dimensionally (3-D) printing the silicone structure eased the prototype production. However, the 3-D printed material has a higher hysteresis than the previously used Ecoflex. Microcontroller boards originally developed for the skin of iCub were implemented for uSkin, increasing the readout frequency and reducing the space requirements and number of wires. The sensor was installed on iCub and successfully used for shape exploration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2584-2591
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Robotics and Automation Letters
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Jul 1



  • dexterous manipulation
  • Force and tactile sensing
  • multifingered hands

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Control and Optimization
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition

Cite this