The detection of force with higher resolution than observed in humans (similar to 1 mN) is of great interest for emerging technologies, especially surgical robots, since this level of resolution could allow these devices to operate in extremely sensitive environments without harming these. In this paper, we present a force sensor fabricated with a miniaturized footprint (9 mm(2)), based on the detection of the magnetic field generated by magnetized flexible pillars over a giant magnetoresistive sensor. When these flexible pillars deflect due to external loads, the stray field emitted by these will change, thus varying the GMR sensor resistance. A sensor with an array of five pillars with 200 mu m diameter and 1 mm height was fabricated, achieving a 0 to 26 mN measurement range and capable of detecting a minimum force feature of 630 mu N. A simulation model to predict the distribution of magnetic field generated by the flexible pillars on the sensitive area of the GMR sensor in function of the applied force was developed and validated against the experimental results reported in this paper. The sensor was finally tested as a texture classification system, with the ability of differentiating between four distinct surfaces varying between 0 and 162 mu m root mean square surface roughness.
Bibliographical noteKAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: This work was supported under Project EXCL/CTM-NAN/0441/2012, Project PTDC/CTM-NAN/3146/2014, and Project UID/EEA/50009/2013. The work of F. Franco was supported by FCT Project under Grant SFRH/BD/111538/2015. The work of L. Jamone was supported by LIMOMAN-PIEFGA-2013-628315.