Version 1 is gone but version 2, now with a built-in pressure sensor, is available here.
Does your robot crush objects with its hulkishly strong grip? Give your robotic hand or claw a better sense of touch with the Robotic Finger Sensor.
The Robotic Finger Sensor (RFS) uses a unique combination of infrared distance sensing, optical encapsulant and data filtering to detect extremely light touches. Additionally, the silicon covering is squishy, giving the sensor increased grip (friction) and a qualitative sense of force; the sensor can't output a quantitative number like 2.7 lbs of force, but it does output an increasing IR value indicating additional compression of the encapsulant.
How does it work? In short, IR light from the VCNL4040 distance sensor dramatically scatters when an object like a white coffee cup or human skin comes in contact with the face of the sensor. The example firmware demonstrates how to capture this signal and turn it into 'Touch' and 'Release' events.
The RFS requires 3.3V and communicates over I2C. The connector is compatible with our Qwiic system. The Qwiic system enables fast and solderless connection between popular platforms and various sensors and actuators. You can read more about the Qwiic system here. We carry 200mm, 100mm, 50mm, and breadboard friendly Qwiic cables.
Orders placed after April 3rd, 2017 include a complimentary breadboard friendly Qwiic cable. Additionally, this product includes an 8" cable that is terminated in bare 28AWG wires (it's our 4-Pin JST product). The board has two small 2-56 screw holes for mounting. Hot glue also works well.
This is a collaboration with Professor Nikolaus Correll at CU Boulder. A portion of this sale is given back to Dr. Correll's lab for the continued development of innovative robotic components.
The Robotic Finger Sensor is the first piece of autonomous robotic control. To see what's possible when you couple vision systems with touch capability, have a look at full-stack autonomous manipulation using this sensor with ROS. CU is working on an impressive robotic perception stack to make this easier for the beginner.
What if I need more than one? The sensor has only one I2C address so putting multiple on the bus will cause collisions. Luckily, we've got a mux for that! The Qwiic Mux allows up to 4 sensors to be simultaneously connected with the ability to daisychain up to 8 muxes. 32 fingers is a big gripper! Control examples are available here.
We do not plan to regularly carry SparkX products so get them while they're hot!
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