Teaching robots through force sensing

March 21, 2018 // By Julien Happich
Teaching robots through force sensing
As Peratech was presenting the latest implementation of its Quantum Tunneling Composite (QTC) force sensor at LOPEC (Large Organic Printed Electronics Conference), eeNews Europe caught up with CEO Jon Stark.

Interestingly, the company was exhibiting at the Merck booth, last October it raised a £9.2 million round of funding led by the venture capital wing of Merck, along with Arie Capital and existing investors. This does not make Merck a majority owner by the way as it only owns between 10 and 15% of Peratech's shares, noted Stark.

The active-matrix 3D force touch sensor
integrated with a flexible organic LCD.

On display was an active-matrix 3D force touch sensor fully integrated with a flexible organic LCD, creating a multi-point force-touch sensing human machine interface that can conform to the shape of the end application.

The fruit of a collaboration with Merck and FlexEnable, this was a significant technological milestone for Peratech, according to Stark, as no other flexible active-matrix 3D touch sensor with integrated display is available on the market today. The integrated solution was based on FlexEnable’s low-temperature organic thin-film transistor (OTFT) fabrication expertise using Merck lisicon OTFT material technology together with Merck licristal liquid crystal materials. All of the circuitry that drives the organic LCD is integrated alongside the 3D touch sensing elements, making display and force touch a single component in terms of design and system integration. The force sensor provides a raw spatial resolution of 25ppi using 100 by 64 active-matrix sensing elements for the 3D touch sensor. The elements, or sensels, detect both location of touch points and the amount of force applied to each sensel in the contact area, making the theoretical interpolated resolution greater than 10,000 ppi with standard ICs typically used in consumer, automotive, and industrial electronics.

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