Using Redundant and Disjoint Time-Variant Soft Robotic Sensors for Accurate Static State Estimation


Soft robotic sensors have been limited in their applications due to their highly nonlinear time variant behavior. Current studies are either looking into techniques to improve the mechano-electrical properties of these sensors or into modelling algorithms that account for the history of each sensor. Here, we present a method for combining multi-material soft strain sensors to obtain equivalent higher quality sensors; better than each of the individual strain sensors. The core idea behind this work is to use a combination of redundant and disjoint strain sensors to compensate for the time-variant hidden states of a soft-bodied system, to finally obtain the true strain state in a static manner using a learning-based approach. We provide methods to develop these variable sensors and metrics to estimate their dissimilarity and efficacy of each sensor combinations, which can double down as a benchmarking tool for soft robotic sensors. The proposed approach is experimentally validated on a pneumatic actuator with embedded soft strain sensors. Our results show that static data from a combination of nonlinear time variant strain sensors is sufficient to accurately estimate the strain state of a system.

Robotics and Automation Letters