In this study, a controllable tactile device capable of realizing repulsive forces from soft human tissues was proposed, and its effectiveness was verified through experimental tests. The device was fabricated using both porous polyurethane foam (PPF) and smart magnetorheological fluid (MRF). As a first step, the microstructural behavior of MRF particle chains that depended on the magnetic field was examined via scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The test samples were then fabricated after analyzing the magnetic field distribution, which was crucial for the formation of the particle chains under the squeeze mode operation. In the fabrication of the samples, MRF was immersed into the porous polyurethane foam and encapsulated by adhesive tape to avoid leakage. To verify the effectiveness of the proposed tactile device for appropriate stiffness of soft human tissues such as liver, the repulsive force and relaxation stress were measured and discussed as a function of the magnetic field intensity. In addition, the effectiveness and practical applicability of the proposed tactile device have been validated through the psychophysical test.
Keywords: human tissue; magnetorheological fluid (MRF), porous polyurethane foam (PPF), squeeze mode; psychophysical test; repulsive force; tactile device.