Étudiant-chercheur étoile March 2017

Bruno Belzile

PhD student in Mechanical Engineering
École Polytechnique de Montréal

Award-winning publication: Stiffness Analysis of Underactuated Fingers and its Application to Proprioceptive Tactile Sensing

Published in: IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics


The sense of touch has always been difficult to imitate in robotics. Sensors are generally placed on a robot's surface but remain deficient and, in many cases, costly. To enhance gripping in robots, Bruno Belzile developed a virtual sensor based on the stiffness of the mechanism perceived by the actuator—the element that controls the system's movements. The model makes it possible to infer the impact of each design parameter on the stiffness measured by the actuator without any sensors on the finger itself. Stiffness is very important since it is used to reconstitute the forces applied to the finger with only two remote sensors. This new technique is cost effective and may easily be adapted to many systems, including surgical robots, assembly lines and manipulations in space.