Magnetic resonance-compatible tactile force sensor using fiber optics and vision sensor

Hui Xie, Allen Jiang, Helge A. Wurdemann, Hongbin Liu, Lakmal D. Seneviratne, Kaspar Althoefer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


This paper presents a fiber optic based tactile array sensor that can be employed in magnetic resonance environments. In contrast to conventional sensing approaches, such as resistive or capacitive-based sensing methods, which strongly rely on the generation and transmission of electronics signals, here electromagnetically isolated optical fibers were utilized to develop the tactile array sensor. The individual sensing elements of the proposed sensor detect normal forces; fusing the information from the individual elements allows the perception of the shape of probed objects. Applied forces deform a micro-flexure inside each sensor tactel, displacing a miniature mirror which, in turn, modulates the light intensity introduced by a transmitting fiber connected to a light source at its proximal end. For each tactel, the light intensity is read by a receiving fiber connected directly to a 2-D vision sensor. Computer software, such as MATLAB, is used to process the images received by the vision sensor. The calibration process was conducted by relating the applied forces to the number of activated pixels for each image received from a receiving fiber. The proposed approach allows the concurrent acquisition of data from multiple tactile sensor elements using a vision sensor such as a standard video camera. Test results of force responses and shape detection have proven the viability of this sensing concept.

Original languageBritish English
Article number6600735
Pages (from-to)829-838
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE Sensors Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2014


  • fiber optics
  • Tactile array sensor
  • vision sensor


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