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Publication Date


First Advisor

Kristen L. Dorsey

Document Type

Honors Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science




Fiber optic sensor, Contact force sensing, Step-indexed waveguide, Tactile force localization, Nonlinear elasticity, Soft haptic sensor


Integration of multifunctional, scalable, and high-performance soft sensors with soft actuators is a grand challenge in the field of soft robotics. Recent efforts have demonstrated contact force sensing capabilities via soft optical waveguides. These flexible and stretchable optical sensors opened new possibilities of haptic sensing on soft actuators and limb prosthetic. To realize high sensing resolution of tactile sensors, a practical approach places a high-density array of sensors at the location of interests. However, soft optical waveguide sensors are susceptible to optical and mechanical cross-talks, making it difficult to arrange a sensor array densely and practically. In this paper, we present an encoder design that enables discrimination of contact forces at three sensing locations along a pair of optical waveguides. We also establish a simplified numerical model using COMSOL Multiphysics 5.5 to predict the effect of contact force on light intensity loss through the waveguide, which is currently unexplored in the community


©2020 Yuhan Wen. Access limited to the Smith College community and other researchers while on campus. Smith College community members also may access from off-campus using a Smith College log-in. Other off-campus researchers may request a copy through Interlibrary Loan for personal use.




58 pages : color illustrations. Includes bibliographical references (pages 49-54)