Sensors and Displays

Stretchable electroluminescent skin

We have developed a hyperelastic light emitting capacitor (HLEC) that can expand its surface area by >635% while actively emitting light and sensing this deformation. The center layer is a thin sheet of silicone with embedded ZnS phosphors that glow under a high electric field. Transparent, ionically conductive hydrogel electrodes sandwich the center dielectric layer.
Relevant Publications:

Curvature Control of Soft Orthotics via Low Cost Solid-State Optics

We have developed a new method to embed low-cost, PDMS-based optical fibers into pneumatically actuated orthotic hands that enable enhanced feedback and control.
  • A soft orthotic hand fabricated using rotational casting and overmolding.
  • Static and dynamic states are monitored via the modified optical-fiber sensors.
  • Prescribed curvatures are achieved through valve controlling.
Relevant Publications:

Dielectric Elastomer Sensors (DESs)

Capacitors fabricated from soft materials give us the opportunity to design pressure sensitive skins for robots. In this work, we 3D printed these capacitors on top of pneumatic actuators. These sensors allow soft robots to feel external touch and their own shape.
  • Direct ink write 3D printing can be used to draw these sensors onto the skin of pneumatic actuators.
  • These sensors do not delaminate even under the large deformations of the underlying pneumatic actuators.
  • We were able to use these sensors to create a programmable, haptic interface with potential for use in prosthetics.
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