Additive manufacturing of self-healing soft robots with integrated sensing capabilities.

Project Details


Nature has many remarkable properties. One is the healing capability of organisms: a wound will heal under the right conditions. In man- made objects such as robots, often mimicking nature, this property has remained absent until recently. Imagine humans are not able to heal wounds, this would drastically decrease their lifespan. Similarly, self-healing capabilities prolong the lifetime of other applications. In soft robots, the utility of this property is clear as they are more prone to wear, tears and ruptures by overpressure or contact with sharp objects due to their softness. However, their flexibility allows compliance, being able to deform around object, and thus, a safer interaction with humans or delicate objects.
By interdisciplinary research, we developed soft robots with a healing ability by using self-healing material. Currently, these robots are unable to sense touch, their position or damage. This project will provide them with sensing capabilities without losing the self-healing property, and will allow them to heal autonomously. This increases their potential for industrial use. Until now, self-healing actuators
were manufactured manually, but during my thesis and the start of my phd, the first step in additive manufacturing was taken. In this project, robots and sensors will be investigated using additive manufacturing, further developing this process towards multi-material printing, strongly increasing the design freedom for self-healing
robots and sensors.
Effective start/end date1/11/1931/10/23


  • Self-healing materials
  • Soft robotics
  • Additive Manufacturing

Flemish discipline codes

  • Manufacturing processes, methods and technologies
  • Robot structures
  • Sensing, estimation and actuating
  • Polymer processing