Picture of rSkin - Open Source Robot Skin
This textile skin is designed to stretch over a robotic limb in order to detect intensity of pressure as well as location of contact across it’s entire surface. rSkin was commissioned by Ian Danforth who also helped fund the Bilibot, an affordable robotics platform. The aim of this project was to develop an affordable open source design robot skin that could be customized to fit a variety of robot shapes and sizes.

While this Instructable documents the process of building a fully functioning 28 x 28 pressure sensitive matrix, there is much room for improvement, and so in each step we discuss issues with the current solution and also include suggests for improvements. At this stage in the project we are really looking fwd to receiving your feedback and suggestions! Ian is also looking to hire individuals interested in (re-)building the skin based on this Instructable (changes, alterations, improvements encouraged!), so if you are interested in taking on this challenge, please contact us through Instructables. Please note that the skills required to replicate the current version of rSkin include: hand and machine sewing, soldering and a basic understanding of the electrical properties of materials.

The next step this Instructable explains in more detail the basic principal of how rSkin works without going into the full amount of detail required to build it yourself. Before attempting to remake this Instructable, i would recommend reading through all the steps to get a good impression of how it all comes together. Building rSkin is not necessarily a linear process where everything needs to happen in a particular order, though in this Instructable i make an attempt at doing just that.

rSkin project progress blog >>

Here are some videos of the results of the current version of rSkin:

Ellipse Visualization

Heat-Map Visualization

Gray-Scale Visualization

rSkin Links:
Project Page
Progress Blog
Flickr Photo Set
GitHub Code Repository
YouTube Playlist
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marc.cryan3 years ago
This is really great. Very exciting project.
Thanks! We're pretty excited about it too!

so when does Ian release His new Invention of the fenn! When will you sell this new product? and how much will it cost?

Wae2 years ago
Can this be used on a person as well? Say a shirt or pants, mapping parts of the body or no?
thealeks Wae2 years ago
It should be able to. Its like making a matrix of those bend sensors that are all over instructables. Hmm putting this on a person could be an interesting way to see which muscles are being used, could be useful for fitness buffs
megaduty3 years ago
Hey, this is a really cool project.
I posted it on Geek Crafts.
MDude3 years ago
Well this is cool. I'm going to need to do more work on electronics if I want to get started on a robot cat any time soon.
RetroPlayer3 years ago
Is this "piezo-resistive foam" any more special than anti-static foam? I have made pressure sensors from that stuff before. Of course the one thing that does make it less effective for a purpose like this is that it doesn't really spring back well or very quickly. I will have to look at the Eeonyx stuff.
Plusea (author)  RetroPlayer3 years ago
you're right, it's the same thing. some foams hold their shape better with squeezing than others. velostat another antistatic/piezoresistive material that comes in flat plastic sheeet form, and the eeonyx fabrics are fabrics coated in a antistatic/piezoresistive polymer.
rkeyzer3 years ago
Add a some EL multi-color material with a power source and finaly put it all in to a pair of pants and you have a womans worest nightmare pants that show how fat you are
rimar20003 years ago
WOW, this is awesome, congratulations!
ilpug3 years ago
Wow. Robots with touch!