Development of new sensor & actuator

The human fingers and arms have numerous tactile receptors, being sensitive to contact with surrounding objects. In addition, their joints are not only controllable in terms of position, but also adjustable in softness.


However, most robots currently used in the industrial field have limited sensing capabilities compared to humans. And few robot hands have adjustable joint softness. Therefore, high-speed manipulation of flexible objects by a robot without deforming them or grasping an object with colliding fingertips are tasks that are easy for humans but extremely difficult for robots.

Therefore, our laboratory has developed a distance sensor (proximity sensor) for robots and proposed a new method to detect with an object by detecting a zero millimeters distance. It is difficult for a tactile sensor for robots to combine 1) Detection sensitivity; 2) Accuracy; 3) Durability, but this method enables ultra-haptic sensing with these features.

Furthermore, since it is a distance sensor, it can detect the distance to an object when there is no contact and accurately adjust the fingertip position of the hand.


Prof. Koyama has developed a compact actuator (MagLinkage) with an extremely low friction in the drive system. This actuator is a combination of a magnet gear and a mechanical gear, which enables high-speed and force control. A robot hand equipped with MagLinkage enables tasks that are difficult for conventional robots, such as grasping a playing card while the hand fingertips touches the desk.