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IEEE Trans Haptics. 2015 Jan-Mar;8(1):20-30. doi: 10.1109/TOH.2015.2391093. Epub 2015 Jan 12.

Controllable surface haptics via particle jamming and pneumatics.

Abstract

The combination of particle jamming and pneumatics allows the simultaneous control of shape and mechanical properties in a tactile display. A hollow silicone membrane is molded into an array of thin cells, each filled with coffee grounds such that adjusting the vacuum level in any individual cell rapidly switches it between flexible and rigid states. The array clamps over a pressure-regulated air chamber with internal mechanisms designed to pin the nodes between cells at any given height. Various sequences of cell vacuuming, node pinning, and chamber pressurization allow the surface to balloon into a variety of shapes. Experiments were performed to expand existing physical models of jamming at the inter-particle level to define the rheological characteristics of jammed systems from a macroscopic perspective, relevant to force-displacement interactions that would be experienced by human users. Force-displacement data show that a jammed cell in compression fits a Maxwell model and a cell deflected in the center while supported only at the edges fits a Zener model, each with stiffness and damping parameters that increase at higher levels of applied vacuum. This provides framework to tune and control the mechanical properties of a jamming haptic interface.

PMID:
25594980
DOI:
10.1109/TOH.2015.2391093
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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