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- Contains all the sensory capabilities of the human fingertip
- Similar to the human fingertip in size, shape, and compliance
- Robust design that protects electronics
- Easily replaceable skins
- Software for collecting and processing data
- Can be installed on virtually any robotic platform
The BioTac® mimics the physical properties and sensory capabilities of the human fingertip. Initially developed by researchers at the University of Southern California (see BioTac History), the BioTac, with advanced human-like tactile sensing, is the leading product in machine touch. The design consists of a rigid core surrounded by an elastic liquid filled-skin to give a compliance remarkably similar to the human fingertip. Identical to human touch capabilities, the BioTac is capable of sensing: force, vibration, and temperature. These sensory capabilities have been incorporated into the device without placing a single sensor in the skin. Instead, all of the electronics are protected inside the rigid core, making the BioTac in a class of its own when it comes to robustness and reparability.
SynTouch currently makes robot integration systems for the following robotic hands:
Is your robot not featured above? We can develop a custom integration system that includes mechanical adapters and electrical wiring, contact us for more details.
The BioTac has three unique types of sensors that permit it to sense all of the information human fingertips are capable of detecting (excluding pain) with a similar range and resolution, including:
- Impedance-sensing electrodes capable of measuring deformations that arise when normal or shear forces are applied to the surface of the skin
- A sensitive pressure transducer capable of sensing both total fluid pressure and vibrations that arise when sliding over textured surfaces
- A set of heaters and a thermistor capable of sensing thermal gradients that arise when touching objects with different thermal properties
Additional details of these sensory capabilities can be found on our BioTac Sensory Modalities page and a complete set of academic publications describing applications and uses of the BioTac can be found on our Publications page.
In designing the BioTac to mimic the sensory capabilities and mechanical structure of the human fingertip it can be used to perform a number of human-like tasks with surprising accuracy, including:
- Discriminating objects based on their tactile proprieties such as texture, compliance and thermal properties
- Resolving point of contact
- Resolving normal and shear forces
- Detecting slip
- Estimating the radius of curvature of a contacted object
- Sensing initial contact with an remarkably high sensitivity
- Discriminating edges, corners, and flat surfaces
Additional videos of the BioTac can be found on our Videos page.
- "With multimodal tactile sensing and machine learning techniques, we have the potential to transcend existing approaches to artificial grasp and manipulation that have historically relied on only one mode of tactile sensing."
- Veronica Santos, PhD. Director, Biomechatronics Laboratory, ASU
- "We've looked at a wide range of approaches for sensing in the fingertips of robot hands, and the BioTac is unique in offering human-like sensing capabilities to couple with active control of grasping."
- Rich Walker, Managing Director, Shadow Robot Company
- "The sensitivity and repeatability of the BioTac is far superior to other tactile sensors."
- Rod Eckstein, Senior Scientist, Proctor & Gamble
The BioTac evaluation system includes everything needed to connect a BioTac to a computer to collect data and or process data. Including:
- 1 BioTac
- 1 Replacement Skin
- 1 Mechanical Adapter
- 1 18" SPI Cable
- 1 BioTac Maintenance Kit
- 1 Development Kit
If desired, up to five BioTac sensors can be connected to the system. Making it a perfect solution for custom applications.