Pressure measurement sensor with piezoresistive thread lattice

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United States of America Patent

PATENT NO 6543299
APP PUB NO 20020194934A1





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A transducer sensor array for measuring forces or pressures exerted on a surface includes a lattice of individual force or pressure sensor transducer elements comprising intersecting regions of pairs of elongated, flexible threads, each consisting of a central electrically conductive wire core covered by a layer of piezoresistive material having an electrical resistivity which varies inversely with pressure exerted on the material. The threads are arranged into two parallel planar sets, one set forming parallel spaced apart rows and the other set forming parallel spaced apart columns angled with respect to the rows. Row and column piezoresistive threads are retained in physical contact with one another at cross-over intersection points forming a lattice of piezoresistive junctions comprising individual force sensing elements, either by being bonded between a pair of thin, flexible, upper and lower laminating sheets, or by being interwoven to form a fabric mesh. In either case, the sensor array formed by the piezoresistive threads has a highly flexible, fabric-like characteristic which enables the array to readily conform to irregularly curved object surfaces. External normal forces or pressures exerted on an upper surface of the array placed on an object surface causes the electrical resistance of piezoresistive junctions which are compressed in response to the external forces to vary in a predetermined way, enabling a two-dimensional plot of electrical resistance values of each junction node to be made, thus enabling a two-dimensional matrix or map of pressure values exerted on each point of a surface, overlain by the sensor array to be generated. In one embodiment, the piezoresistive layer covering each piezoresistive thread consists of an electrically conductive elastomer, such as silicone rubber impregnated with carbon particles. In another embodiment, the piezoresistive threads consist of a wire core spirally wrapped with a plurality of thin polymer filaments that have a relatively poor electrical conductivity, such as nylon fibers which have carburized outer surfaces.

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Inventor Name Address # of filed Patents Total Citations
Taylor, Geoffrey L 120 Maryland Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba, CA R3G 1L1 24 849

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