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Innovative Cable-Like-Shape-Sensor




Detection of


Based on their positioning in space our cable-like shape-sensors create a virtual three-dimensional model of their current layout. This model of the cable's position and shape mirrors precisely the actual cable's position and shape in real time. This opens up numerous applications.


For all applications a concurrent monitoring can be realized: If a part of the sensor-array reaches a critical position. If a sensor assumes a critical shape. If parts of the cable approach critical velocities.





We integrated helically coiled foils into our cable-like shape-sensors. Bends of the cable, therefore, result in changes in the distances between the foil edges. These distances are optically tracked and send to a plotting computer. This distance information is compiled into a virtual model of the cable's shape. Due to the compact construction the sensor delivers a high measuring density and provides space for a usable filling (marked white in the picture), which can host, for example, electric cables, optical fibers or bowden cables.






Application areas are:






In the arm of the new developed BionicMotionRobot from Festo, the TST-Shape sensor is integrated to detect position, shape and interaction information.


Spine Measurement

For the manufacturer of mattress and duckboards Lattoflex a system for the measurement of human spine "Dosigraph" has been developed. By means of dosigraph, features of lying can be visualized for different bed systems. The changing position and shape of the spine is visualized in real-time.


Application Concepts

Applications arise wherever flexible connections have to be monitored, for example, cable assemblies or delivery hoses.

The sensors can also be employed for the guidance of heavy machinery and handling fixtures.


In the case of industrial robots a large portion of their downtimes is due to broken cable connections. Such a machine could be halted beforehand reducing the downtime from hours to minutes.

The specification of 3d trajectories of robot movements can be given directly and intuitively.


The position information of the sensor shape is updated with high frequency. Thus the velocity at the sensor end can be determined exactly. With this information the automatic dosage of adhesives in dependence of hand movement is feasible. Recordings of trajectories of movement can be used to establish quality of service documentation.

Manual assembly tools can be configured in dependence of their position. A torque wrench may realize different moments of force for different screws.


Our sensor technology can be integrated in medical and industrial endoscopes in order to obtain precise positioning information. This increases the manufacturing radiuses only by 1,5mm. Analogously, an employment in so-called rooter systems is possible in order to localize damaged locations.


The sensors can be used for interaction. Thereby a direct and intuitive specification of position information with six degrees of freedom is possible. Using parallel sensor arrangements also surfaces can be specified, for example in interactive flow simulations. Also deformations can be measured in crash-test-scenarios.


The shape-sensors can be employed to monitor flexible objects – including inflatable objects. When sensors are fused into foils or rubber skins one can monitor, for example, escape slides or life rafts - if they have unfolded and inflated properly or if additional measures are necessary due to bad weather conditions.


The shape-sensors can be integrated into clothing, in order to perform motion capturing for film animations. In workwear numerous security and safety functions can be realized. In the case of lumberjacks a chainsaw can be automatically stopped when it gets too close to the clothing.