A Whisker Probe System for Shape Perception of Solids

[+] Author and Article Information
James F. Wilson

School of Engineering, Duke University, Durham, NC 27706-90287

Zhenhai Chen

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695

J. Dyn. Sys., Meas., Control 117(1), 104-108 (Mar 01, 1995) (5 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2798514 History: Received April 01, 1992; Revised November 01, 1993; Online December 03, 2007


A computer-controlled whisker probe system was designed to measure contours of solid objects. The system’s mechanical components include the whisker: a cantilevered spring steel wire instrumented with strain gages; and the whisker’s base sweep mechanism: an assembly of tubes that bend when pressurized. The base mechanism is programmed to sweep the whisker over a solid object, during which measures of whisker strain and tube pressure are combined with closed-loop control to compute and display the object’s shape. Experiments demonstrate the system’s precision and accuracy in measuring object boundaries. Future applications include whisker cluster systems mounted on mobile robots and programmed for robot obstacle avoidance.

Copyright © 1995 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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