Sensor development for integration in soft robotic systems

Activity: Talk or presentationTalk or presentation at a workshop/seminar

Description

Self-healing materials (SHM) for soft robotics can improve the sustainability of production lines for the manufacturing of products. If the robot is damaged, the self-healing mechanism allows repairing the defect without replacing the faulty part. To sense the damage and to avoid stiffening of the SHM, fibrous sensor technology has been investigated. However, it remains a challenge to integrate sensors fibers into soft materials, because of stress shielding effects. A major challenge that has to be addressed is the combination of the sensor fibers with the soft elastomer material. In this study we investigated the effect of the shore hardness of the elastomer matrix on the piezoresistive signal of integrated the sensor fibers. It is showed how a mismatch in the mechanical properties between the piezoresistive fiber and the elastomer substrate affect the linearity and sensitivity of the sensor signal. Different processing techniques, like casting, injection molding and 3D printing are discussed as possible techniques to manufacture soft robotic parts with the integrated strain sensing. Obtaining the necessary knowledge from material science and soft robotics engineering about the integration of soft sensor elements into an elastomer structures improve the development of self-healing sensor fibers and their combination with self-healing matrix systems for future soft robotic applications.
Period30 Nov 2020
Held atSwiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (Empa), Switzerland