Various technologies described herein pertain to a tactile sensor that senses normal load and/or shear load. The tactile sensor includes a first layer and an optically transparent layer bonded together. At least a portion of the first layer is made of optically reflective material. The optically transparent layer is made of resilient material (e.g., clear silicone rubber). The tactile sensor includes light emitter/light detector pair(s), which respectively detect either normal load or shear load. Light emitter(s) emit light that traverses through the optically transparent layer and reflects off optically reflective material of the first layer, and light detector(s) detect and measure intensity of reflected light. When a normal load is applied, the optically transparent layer compresses, causing a change in reflected light intensity. When shear load is applied, a boundary between optically reflective material and optically absorptive material is laterally displaced, causing a change in reflected light intensity.
STATEMENT OF GOVERNMENTAL INTEREST
This invention was developed under contract DE-AC04-94AL85000 between Sandia Corporation and the U.S. Department of Energy. The U.S. Government has certain rights in this invention.