Fibratus Tactile Sensor

A new interface device that uses the property of reflection to evaluate the sense of gentle touch, which is not possible with current tactile sensors.

Enhanced Life

When users stroke the Fibratus Tactile Sensor, their fingers create dynamic flows that can be used as inputs to computer systems. When softer fibers are utilized, the sensor is even capable of sensing air motion. This enhanced sensitivity could enable new types of interfaces. For example, in near-future robots, the sensor could evaluate softer contact sensations than existing tactile sensors, which could encourage adoption of robots in daily life.


To develop a new tactile sensing system that supports:
  • Multi sensing, contact-less interactive devices

  • Sensing by means of active patterns

  • Thin device and rapid sensing


This new optical tactile sensor can detect surface deformation with high precision by applying the principle of an optical lever. Transparent silicone rubber is used as the flexible mirror surface. Because of the distribution of the refractive index between air and the silicone rubber, the boundary surface has a reflection characteristic similar to that of a mirror.

The flexible mirror surface is implanted with fibratus salience, the hardness of which is a little greater than that of silicone rubber. From this salience, the surface of the fibratus is considered to be the contact surface, and the reflection characteristics remain unchanged.


Future work involves additional applications of the Fibratus Tactile Sensor and further exploitation of its properties.


Satoshi Saga
The University of Tokyo
Saga (at)


Shinobu Kuroki
Naoki Kawakami
Susumu Tachi
The University of Tokyo