ETRI accelerates tactile communication with telehaptics attached to the skin

ETRI accelerates tactile communication with telehaptics attached to the skin


image: The ETRI research team demonstrates an experience of tactile sensations using a sensor.
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Credit: Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI)

The Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) has developed a telehaptic device that remotely transmits tactile sensations in real time by attaching it to the fingertip like a sticker. It should add a sense of immersion to the metaverse and a true tactile experience with world-class performance and usability thanks to ultra-miniaturization.

The Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) announced that it has developed a skin-attached telehaptic technology that solves the immersion barrier of existing tactile reproduction devices and provides a more vivid tactile experience in close contact. with the skin.

This technology has been published in NPJ flexible electronicsthe world’s most prestigious electronic engineering journal.

This technology uses the unique vibration pattern of touch and texture. Using tactile collection sensors and tactile reproduction actuators, people can feel textures virtually without touching the objects in reality.

Following the disclosure of telehaptic technology in April last year, ETRI has succeeded in advancing the technology into a form that can be stuck on the finger like a sticker.

It solved the large volume and low performance of existing touch reproduction devices. For a highly immersive user experience, accurate reproduction of touch and texture fine enough to attach to skin is essential.

The research team used a self-developed piezoelectric element and an ultra-thin flexible substrate to precisely integrate microscopic sensors and actuators smaller than 1mm onto the substrate. The substrate is thin and bendable with a thickness of 1/20 of a human hair (about 4㎛), so it is suitable for attaching to the skin.

The high-resolution composite sensor, finely structured at 1.8 mm intervals, can feel tactile patterns in a wide frequency range from 1 to 1,000 hertz (Hz). It has demonstrated world-class performance by simultaneously measuring slowly changing pressure (static pressure) and rapidly changing pressure (dynamic pressure).

In particular, this achievement can measure and replicate materials such as cotton, polyester, and spandex, as well as the shape of convex protruding letter surfaces and the dynamic feel of plastic rods rolling over fingertips. Indeed, the high-resolution sensor even recognizes very different touch patterns for each location.

The cutaneous telehaptic technology developed by ETRI makes it possible to reproduce tactile sensations in real time up to 15 m away thanks to Bluetooth communication. In particular, the delay time when transmitting the touch/texture data signal was only 1.55 milliseconds (ms), and the acquired and reproduced signals corresponded to about 97%. This eliminates any interference in signal transmission.

The research team said that this technology is the result of the integration of ▲ highly flexible ultra-thin substrates ▲ static/dynamic high-resolution composite pressure sensors ▲ high-power ultra-small piezoelectric actuators ▲ signal processing and control Piezoelectric ▲ composite touch sensor/actuator sensor/Texture data control and wireless communication link technology.

Principal Investigator Hye Jin Kim of ETRI’s Smart Sensor Research Section said, “With the lightweight and flexible skin-touch reproduction device that can be attached to the skin, we have taken a step forward. in preparing a base environment for the development of highly immersive virtual/virtual systems. augmented reality content.”

The research team said that in the future, they plan to innovatively advance the performance and form factor of the piezoelectric element to create complex tactile and texture levels that match reality by combining not only vibrations but also various tactile stimuli.

Additionally, they plan to implement more realistic complex sensors and actuators by further improving the design of piezoelectric elements and structures to increase output performance and add warm and cold sensations.


This research was carried out with the “Development of High Piezoelectric Coefficient Composite and Ultra-Low Power Multilayer Piezoelectric Sensor/Actuator Multifunctional Module Technology” of the Ministry of Science and ICT.

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