Calibration: Proving the Accuracy of Pressure Sensing Technology

In the world of tactile pressure sensors, you’re often only as good as what you’re able to demonstrate. As such, calibrating pressure sensors is a crucially important process.

In a perfect universe, all sensors would have the exact same reaction to a given input. When the input is, say, 1 psi, every sensor element would produce the same number of counts in response. Unfortunately, manufacturing variations and various control issues mean nothing is ever really identical. For example, 1 psi might produce an output of 1,000 counts in one element and 990 in another. To account for these disparities and attain a truly accurate pressure reading, it’s thus often necessary to calibrate.

Tactile Pressure Sensors: A Perfect Fit for Clothing Design

Though it might not alwaysbe obvious to the casual observer, the clothing worn by Olympic and professional athletes can be as sophisticated and technologically advanced as anything else in their toolbox. Beyond simply making the athletes look good or protecting them from the elements, their outfits are, depending on the sport, often engineered to perform specific functions, like reducing drag or supporting muscle use.

Design News: Sensitivity Training: Considerations for Measuring Very Low Pressures

When it comes to capacitive tactile pressure sensing, the question often arises: How low can you go? Although a measurement of less than 1 psi is considered to be a super-low pressure in contact mechanics, pressure sensors are sensitive enough to measure the even-more-precise pascal (Pa). But there’s not quite a magic number in terms [...]

Design News: 5 Things that can benefit from capacitive tactile pressure sensors

Though physical comfort can make or break an experience, gauging it is something people seem to have a hard time doing, possibly because we’re not very good at determining static pressures in general. That is to say, the human body tends to be more sensitive to pressures that change than to constant loads. This can be a barrier to determining the comfort or fit of something that will be in long-term contact with the body.

Highly sensitive capacitive tactile sensing technology can help us get around that human limitation. With that in mind, here’s a list of some tools and products that could benefit from pressure sensor technology.

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Design News: Capacitive Tactile Sensors Solve Myriad Challenges

One of the main strengths of capacitive tactile sensing technology is its ability to help people access information that would otherwise be impossible to capture. Consider, for example, a sensor-equipped motility catheter that can create a high-resolution pressure map detailing the functionality of a person’s esophagus from within. Of course, optimizing such powerful technology often requires a certain level of expertise and experience and can be more complicated than might first be apparent. To put it bluntly, it’s not as simple as slapping some sensors on a product and calling it a day, a fact illustrated by the complexity of integrating tactile sensors into sports gear.

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Design News: Tactile Pressure Sensors Can Enhance Google Glass

The high-tech world is waiting with bated breath to see whether Google Glass breaks the mold as a truly life-changing innovation, or shatters expectations as little more than a novelty.

Capable of live sharing, taking pictures of, and translating the wearer’s field of vision, the wearable, head-mounted computer represents a foray into futuristic, personalized technology. The use of advanced tactile pressure sensing technology, however, could assist in further customizing the Google Glass experience for the next level of personalization.

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Design News: Humanoid Robots with a Sense of Touch

The rise of the machines may be closer than you think — and that could be a good thing. Cutting-edge technologies such as tactile sensors are spurring the evolution of robots from repetitive, task-oriented machines in the industrial environment to humanoids capable of serving an assistive function in the home or care environments.

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Tactile Pressure Sensors and the Science of Comfort

Pressure is a key consideration for any product that requires either prolonged body contact or contact with a particularly sensitive part of the body. Integrating capacitive tactile pressure sensors into the testing and development process, however, can help ensure that such products won’t cause pain, injury, or agitation for the user.

Five Innovative Medtech Applications for Tactile Pressure Sensors

There are basically two ways to capitalize on capacitive tactile sensor technology for medtech applications: augment the sense of touch or replace it.

In the interest of exploring this area, we’ve compiled a list of five fun and fascinating potential medical uses for capacitive tactile sensors. Some of these potential applications are based on concepts integrated into products that Pressure Profile Systems (PPS) has already helped get to market, but most remain in the conceptual stage, awaiting an interested partner with the capital and infrastructure to develop a usable medical device.

Touchpoints: Geeking Out and Saving Lives with Tactile Sensors

I’m most proud of the work I do with capacitive tactile sensors when that work disappears.

That is to say, I want to use cutting-edge capacitive tactile pressure sensing technology to solve unique and challenging problems. And I want that technology to be integrated so seamlessly and simply that the people who use it never even think about it. Because, while I love dealing with the nitty-gritty of what goes on “under the hood” of a product that I’m helping to develop at Pressure Profile Systems (PPS), I know that most people, at the end of the day, don’t care about the mechanics of how their products function. They just want to be able to do their work.

Creating Pulse-Racing Medical Technologies with Tactile Sensors

Checking one’s pulse is both simple and familiar: Press two fingers against the radial artery in the wrist and count the beats to determine heart rate. But while this act can indicate heart rhythm and strength of pulse, it reveals little else about a person’s health. Thanks to capacitive tactile pressure sensing technology, however, this most basic of medical procedures can now be leveraged to obtain more-insightful patient data.

Tactile Pressure Sensors Make Esophageal Manometry More Palatable

For patients suffering from esophageal disorders and searching for answers, the lack of information gleaned from procedures such as manometry used to be tough to swallow.  Advancements in high-resolution tactile pressure sensing technology, however, have led to the development of the ManoScan 360 motility visualization system, which provides clinicians with greater detail, accuracy, and data to aid in diagnosis of esophageal problems.

Tactile Pressure Sensing Keeps Knee Implants in Line

Achieving proper implant placement and alignment during knee-replacement surgery is a feat that literally requires a delicate balancing act by orthopedic surgeons. By spurring the development of emerging knee-balancing technologies, however, capacitive tactile sensors hold the potential to improve postoperative function and pain relief by supplying quantifiable pressure data.

Understanding the Pressure Sensor Design Cycle

The incorporation of capacitive tactile sensing technology into medicalergonomicsrobotics,automotive, and a host of other applications is paving the way for the development of many innovative products. But there are inevitably still a few bumps in the road to producing a commercializable product that features sophisticated tactile pressure sensors.

Tactile Sensors Provide Sense of Touch to Minimally Invasive Surgery

Minimally invasive surgery (MIS) has revolutionized patient care by dramatically reducing trauma and recovery time. Yet despite the benefit for patients, this transition to minor incisions has presented a major obstacle for some surgeons who lament the loss of their sense of touch during a procedure. In an effort to meet this unmet clinical need, researchers are exploring ways to replicate the sense of touch through the integration of capacitive tactile sensors into next-generation MIS instruments.

Touchpoints: How My Mom Inspired a Medical Tactile Sensing Breakthrough

When Pressure Profile Systems (PPS) began targeting medical device applications for our capacitive tactile sensing technology, I didn’t realize just how many lives we might touch.

Roughly a decade ago, I witnessed my mother embark upon the harrowing several-month-long journey of obtaining a breast cancer diagnosis. This long, hard road was paved with the frustration of multiple mammograms, ultrasounds, and biopsies coupled with the hassle of trying to get referrals and second opinions. As if the fear of cancer wasn’t bad enough, the process of finding out definitively whether or not she had cancer proved to be almost as nerve-racking.

Three Disadvantages of Capacitive Tactile Sensors

Capacitive tactile sensors are putting pioneering products on the map that run the gamut from enabling early detection of cancer to enhancing headset comfort. Yet despite capacitive tactile sensing’s contribution to the development of cutting-edge products, it is—like any technology—not without its drawbacks. Below we touch upon three distinct drawbacks of capacitive sensors to provide a clearer understanding of the technology and its limitations.

A Handy Guide to Tactile Sensor Selection

Selecting the best pressure sensor for a given application can be a pressing issue for design engineers. Luckily, when it comes to capturing the sense of touch in a product, there are two primary tactile sensor technology options from which to choose.

Resistive or piezoresistive tactile sensors are by far the more commonly used technology, having been on the market for quite some time. Capacitive tactile sensing technology, in contrast, is the new kid on the block and the subject of a great deal of ongoing cutting-edge research.

Under Construction: 4 Material Options for Capacitive Tactile Sensors

Just as the blind have long learned to paint an image in their minds by tracing their hands over a person or object, so, too, can tactile sensors yield images through contact mechanics. To effectively create innovative products that exploit capacitive tactile sensor technology, however, inspired engineers must first select the optimal materials and construction for a tactile pressure sensor.

Tactile Sensors Chart a New Course for Pressure Mapping

Widely used in the field of biomechanics, pressure mapping has historically provided a visual representation of pressure distribution for the optimization of such products as wheelchair cushions and orthotics. Capacitive tactile sensors are opening the door for the development of a multitude of innovative new medical devices, however, by taking pressure mapping technology to the next level and quantifying the sense of touch.