This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

High-Dynamic Range Collision Detection using Piezoelectric Polymer Films for Planar and Non-planar Applications




Wooten, James Michael

Type of Degree



Electrical Engineering


This thesis develops a large area collision detection system utilizing the piezoelectric ef- fect of polyvinylidene fluoride film. Complex high speed autonomous articulations associated with modern large-scale high degree-of-freedom (DOF) robotic arms have a high possibility of collision when integrated into human cooperative environments for human-aid, task au- tomation, and biomedical interfacing. The proposed system provides high dynamic range for sensation and robust adaptability to achieve collision detection on complex surfaces in order to augment robotic systems with collision perception. The design allows for increased cohabi- tation of human and high DOF robotic arms in cooperative environments requiring advanced and robust collision detection systems capable of retrofitting onto deployed and operating robotic arms in the commercial world. Sensor testing is accomplished using multiple collision stimuli to mimic real world performance as well as impact force modeling utilizing high speed cameras. The experimentation results show a wide dynamic sensing range for collision force, from 5N to 300N and consistent sensor response for planar and non-planar applications. The thesis will show and support the sensor capability of wide range of collision detection while maintaining adaptability of sensor design to multiple scenarios. The approach differs from current work which primarily focuses on small-range low levels of tactician perception, small area sensor requiring complex construction, and associated electronics and processing complexity for common approaches. The pseudo-membrane design eliminates the construc- tion complexity and limited application scope while achieving high and low levels of collision detection utilizing simple electronics and processing method. The captured experimentation results highlight the consistency of response for multiple applications, standard deviation of results less than 1GPa, and the large range of collision detection capability from 5N to 300N.