Review of Recent Bio-Inspired Design and Manufacturing of Whisker Tactile Sensors

Mohamad Ammar Sayegh, Hammam Daraghma, Samir Mekid*, Salem Bashmal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Whisker sensors are a class of tactile sensors that have recently attracted attention. Inspired by mammals’ whiskers known as mystacial vibrissae, they have displayed tremendous potential in a variety of applications e.g., robotics, underwater vehicles, minimally invasive surgeries, and leak detection. This paper provides a supplement to the recent tactile sensing techniques’ designs of whiskers that only sense at their base, as well as the materials employed, and manufacturing techniques. The article delves into the technical specifications of these sensors, such as the resolution, measurement range, sensitivity, durability, and recovery time, which determine their performance. The sensors’ sensitivity varies depending on the measured physical quantity; for example, the pressure sensors had an intermediate sensitivity of 58%/Pa and a response time of around 90 ms, whereas the force sensors that function based on piezoelectric effects exhibited good linearity in the measurements with a resolution of 3 µN and sensitivity of 0.1682 mV/µN. Some sensors were used to perform spatial mapping and the identification of the geometry and roughness of objects with a reported resolution of 25 nm. The durability and recovery time showed a wide range of values, with the maximum durability being 10,000 cycles and the shortest recovery time being 5 ms. Furthermore, the paper examines the fabrication of whiskers at the micro-and nanoscales, as well as their contributions to mechanical and thermal behavior. The commonly used manufacturing techniques of 3D printing, PDMS casting, and screen printing were used in addition to several micro and nanofabrication techniques such as photolithography, etching, and chemical vapor deposition. Lastly, the paper discusses the main potential applications of these sensors and potential research gaps in this field. In particular, the operation of whisker sensors under high temperatures or high pressure requires further investigation, as does the design of sensors to explore larger topologies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2705
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • cellulose whiskers
  • mystacial vibrissae
  • nanocomposite
  • tactile sensors
  • whiskers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Information Systems
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Biochemistry
  • Instrumentation
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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