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Capacitive Sensing in Robotics

Stephan Mühlbacher-Karrer Joanneum Research Robotics Institut für Robotik und Mechatronik Klagenfurt

Abstract: The demand for robots capable of sharing their work environment with humans in a safe way has increased tremendously in the past decade. Mainly driven by industry, however, not limited to it, the range of applications of such robots enjoys a great variety in work and private life. An essential requirement of those robots is to have a robust and reliable perception to ensure safety throughout the entire operation. Recently, the International Organization for Standardization released the leading safety related technical specification document ISO/TS 15066 for the operation of collaborative robots specifying the guidelines for a human-robot coexistence in the industrial environment. In this talk capacitive sensing technologies (with inkjet printed sensor front ends) as well as tomography approaches utilized for robotic perception will be discussed. The presented reconstruction and detection algorithms are successfully examined in different case studies such as human-robot interaction (where the electrical capacitance tomography is used as contactless control of a serial manipulator) and human-robot collaboration scenarios to enhance the safety of a serial manipulator equipped with capacitive sensors in a shared environment.

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