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18th March 2022

News Story: Robots Develop a Sense of Touch Through Soft 3D Sensors

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Melexis, a microelectronic sensor specialist in Belgium has developed a tactile 3D sensor for their robotics that make the grippers sensitive enough for the robots to work on delicate operations like picking fruit. 

The development of soft robots built from highly-compliant materials had been investigated by ZD Net in 2018. In this article, it was discussed that their uses could vary from invasive surgery to exoskeleton suits and robotic pickers. This theoretical argument stated that “because they can take different shapes to suit their environment, soft robots have the potential to be far more application-flexible than their rigid counterparts while also being safer for human workers”.

For Melexis, however, the technology has already been implemented in a functioning prototype, so let’s discuss how these changes have actually impacted the business. 


The sensor is immune from stray magnetic fields that may cause errors and tough enough to cope with harsh conditions. Unlike optically-based tactile sensors, this tactile sensor is completely integrated, which means it is possible to produce high volumes of factory-calibrated sensors by using semiconductor manufacturing processes. Needless to say, this results in lower costs and a more reliable system. 

If you would like to learn more about what is going on in the world of automation, browse our other blogs here.