A Survey of Tactile-Sensing Systems and Their Applications in Biomedical Engineering

Yousef Al-Handarish, Olatunji Mumini Omisore, Tobore Igbe, Shipeng Han, Hui Li, Wenjing Du, Jinjie Zhang, Lei Wang

Research output: Journal PublicationReview articlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


Over the past few decades, tactile sensors have become an emerging field of research in both academia and industry. Recent advances have demonstrated application of tactile sensors in the area of biomedical engineering and opened up new opportunities for building multifunctional electronic skin (e-skin) which is capable of imitating the human sense-of-touch for medical purposes. Analyses have shown that current smart tactile sensing technology has the advantages of high performance, low-cost, time efficiency, and ease-of-fabrication. Tactile sensing systems have thus sufficiently matured for integration into several fields related to biomedical engineering. Furthermore, artificial intelligence has the potential for being applied in human-machine interfacing, for instance, in medical robotic manipulation, especially during minimally invasive robotic surgery, where tactile sensing is usually a problem. In this survey, we present a comprehensive review of the state of the art of tactile sensors. We focus on the technical details of transduction mechanisms such as piezoresistivity, capacitance, piezoelectricity, and triboelectric and highlight the role of novel and commonly used materials in tactile sensing. In addition, we discuss contributions that have been reported in the field of biomedical engineering, which includes its present and future applications in building multifunctional e-skins, human-machine interfaces, and minimally invasive surgical robots. Finally, some challenges and notable improvements that have been made in the technical aspects of tactile sensing systems are reported.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4047937
JournalAdvances in Materials Science and Engineering
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science (all)
  • Engineering (all)


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