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Flexible and Stretchable Strain Sensing Actuator for Wearable Soft Robotic Applications

TitleFlexible and Stretchable Strain Sensing Actuator for Wearable Soft Robotic Applications
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsYeo, Joo Chuan, Yap Hong Kai, Xi Wang, Wang Zhiping, Yeow Chen-Hua, and Lim Chwee Teck
JournalAdv. Mater. Technol.
Date Published06/2016
Keywordscomposite, design, disease, elastomers, electronic skin, impairment, pressure sensor, quality-of-life, transparent

Despite the emergence of flexible and stretchable actuators, few possess sensing capabilities. Here, we present a facile method of integrating a flexible pneumatic actuator with stretchable strain sensor to form a soft sensorized actuator. The elastomeric actuator comprises a microchannel connected to a controlled air source to achieve bending. The strain sensor comprises a thin layer of screen-printed silver nanoparticles on an elastomeric substrate to achieve its stretchability and fl exibility while maintaining excellent conductivity at approximate to 8 Omega sq(-1). By printing a mesh network of conductive structures, our strain sensor is able to detect deformations beyond 20% with a high gauge factor beyond 50 000. The integration of a pneumatic soft actuator with our sensing element enables the measurement of the extent of actuator bending. To demonstrate its potential as a rehabilitation sensing actuator, we fit the sensorized actuator in a glove to further analyze finger kinematics. With this, we are able to detect irregular movement patterns in real time and assess finger stiffness or dexterity.


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