Flexible & Soft Robots with sensors

  • Reserchers have built soft robots inspired by nature that can crawl, swim, grasp delicate objects and even assist a beating heart, but none of these devices has been able to sense and respond to the world around them.
  • Robots can sense Pressure, Temperture, Touch and also sense movement.
  • Integrating sensors within soft robots, the researchers developed an organic ionic liquid-based conductive ink that can be 3D printed within the soft elastomer matrices that comprise most soft robots.
  • To fabricate the device, the researchers relied on an established 3D printing technique is used.
  • The technique known as embedded 3D printing — seamlessly and quickly integrates multiple features and materials within a single soft body.
  • This new ink combined with our embedded 3D printing process allows us to combine both soft sensing and actuation in one integrated soft robotic system.
  • The researchers tested the gripper’s ability to sense inflation pressure, curvature, contact, and temperature. They embedded multiple contact sensors, so the gripper could sense light and deep touches.
  • The researchers hope to harness the power of machine learning to train these devices to grasp objects of varying size, shape, surface texture, and temperature.

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