Depth, proximity, and tactile sensors are often used in robotic object manipulation. The three types of sensors are combined to address each sensor limitation: Depth use is limited by blind spots and measurable range, proximity sensor is limited to millimetric distances, and the tactile sensor requires direct contact with the object. Here we present a novel sensor that can simultaneously measure millimetric distance and surface tilt, as well as contact force. We demonstrated the advantage of this novel sensor during a contact task. There, we implemented an admittance control and succeeded in achieving smooth transition from zero- to infinite-impedance contact condition and vice-versa. This novel sensor affords the realization of advanced interactions between robot and objects and contrary to previous approaches - limited by distance, blind spots, and impact force during initial contact - demonstrated good performance at all times with smooth and continuous measurements during contact.
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