Three-dimensional contact imaging with an actuated whisker

Tyler N. Clements, Christopher D. Rahn

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations


Contact sensors can provide high information density object surface sensing in harsh and/or opaque environments. This paper describes the design, modeling, control, and data processing of a contact imager consisting of a flexible whisker mounted on a two-axis robot through a load cell. The whisker sweeps around and into contact with unknown objects, determining the 3-D location of contact points to within a specified position resolution. During contact, the whisker bends along the surface normal, producing large deflections. The joint angles and load cell signals are numerically processed using an elastica model to determine the whisker shapes. Comparison of whisker shapes during bending determines contact point location. Experimental results for several objects with wide ranging surface curvature and roughness demonstrate 1.51 cmRMS resolution for a 45.5 cm whisker.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2005 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, IROS
PublisherIEEE Computer Society
Number of pages6
ISBN (Print)0780389123, 9780780389120
StatePublished - 2005

Publication series

Name2005 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, IROS

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Control and Systems Engineering


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