There are growing interests in the use of robots in collaborative environments with humans or other intelligent machines. Sensing the environment for which the robot is operating can be done in many ways, generally guided by skin-like sensors. Some of the skins are inspired by natural sensing in humans or other species. As humans, we use many of our senses, such as version, hearing, smell, and touch, to move around by avoiding colliding with other humans or objects. Different from humans, many other mammals also use whiskers as an additional sensor to help navigate around. In this paper, we demonstrate a touchless capacitive imaging-based sensor in the situation where the obstacles are in close vicinity to the robot. The proposed imaging system can sense the changes in areas near to the skin-like sensors by measuring the capacitances between the array of electrodes. A 4D sensing approach has been developed with the spatiotemporal Total Variation algorithm. The 4D operational mode gives sensors the time awareness that allows for dynamical responses and hence the better control of the robots. Several experiments are conducted to show the skin-like behaviour of this sensor by simulating various scenarios. The sensor shows the excellent ability to detect an object in its vicinity, where the depth is close to half of the planar sensor array size.
Original languageEnglish
Article number11525
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jul 2020


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