Three-dimensional contact imaging with an actuated whisker

Tyler N. Clements, Christopher D. Rahn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 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 three-dimensional 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 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-cm resolution for a 45.5-cm whisker.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)844-848
Number of pages5
JournalIEEE Transactions on Robotics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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