By D. Rayne

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When a bumper is in contact with an object, a microswitch is closed and gives an electrical signal that can be sensed by the controller. Likewise, when a metal whisker 3 27 Robot Hardware Whisker Sensors FIG. 1. 1), it makes contact with a metal ring, closing the circuit and generating a detectable signal. Other methods of building simple touch sensors include using strain gauges, or piezoelectric transducers. Strain gauges are thin layers of resistive material based on a flexible substrate. As the substrate is being bent by external force, the layer of resistive material is either stretched (resistance goes up), or compressed (resistance goes down) .

Sonka et at. 93] provide a useful introduction. However, there are some simple low level image processing mechanisms available which allow fast and effective image-preprocessing. Typically, they consist of the repeated application of simple procedures, and detect edges, or remove noise . These methods are discussed here because they are used in the robot applications described later in this book. The fundamental princip le of so-called image operators is to modify an individual pixel according to the pixel's own value, as well as those of its neighbours.

Habib, S. Suzuki , S. Yuta and J. lijima, A New Programming Approach to Describe the Sensor Based Real Time Action of Autonomous Robots , Robots : Coming of Age , Proceedings of the International Symposium and Exposition on Robots (designated the 19th ISIR by the International Federation of Robotics) pp. 10I0-21, 1988. • KAMRO (Univ. Karlsruhe, Germany): A. Hormann, W. Meier and J. Schloen, A Control Architecture for an Advanced Fault-Tolerant Robot System, J. Robotics and Autonomous Systems , Vol.

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