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Sensors (Basel). 2010;10(11):10211-25. doi: 10.3390/s101110211. Epub 2010 Nov 15.

A polymer-based capacitive sensing array for normal and shear force measurement.

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Department of Mechanical Engineering, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan.


In this work, we present the development of a polymer-based capacitive sensing array. The proposed device is capable of measuring normal and shear forces, and can be easily realized by using micromachining techniques and flexible printed circuit board (FPCB) technologies. The sensing array consists of a polydimethlysiloxane (PDMS) structure and a FPCB. Each shear sensing element comprises four capacitive sensing cells arranged in a 2 × 2 array, and each capacitive sensing cell has two sensing electrodes and a common floating electrode. The sensing electrodes as well as the metal interconnect for signal scanning are implemented on the FPCB, while the floating electrodes are patterned on the PDMS structure. This design can effectively reduce the complexity of the capacitive structures, and thus makes the device highly manufacturable. The characteristics of the devices with different dimensions were measured and discussed. A scanning circuit was also designed and implemented. The measured maximum sensitivity is 1.67%/mN. The minimum resolvable force is 26 mN measured by the scanning circuit. The capacitance distributions induced by normal and shear forces were also successfully captured by the sensing array.


capacitive sensing; flexible electronics; micromachining; shear sensing array; tactile sensing array

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