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Light-Up Skin Stretches Boundaries of Robotics

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The stretchable luminescent "skin."

Researchers at Cornell University have developed an electroluminescent "skin" that can be stretched to more than six times its original size.

Credit: Chris Larson

Cornell University researchers have developed electroluminescent "skin," which stretches to more than six times its original size while still emitting light.

The hyper-elastic light-emitting capacitor (HLEC) consists of layers of transparent hydrogel electrodes sandwiching an insulating elastomer sheet. The material has two key properties in its ability to enable robots to change color and for displays to change their shape, says Cornell professor Rob Shepherd. He believes these properties could help give robots the ability to have an emotional connection with humans. "

When robots become more and more a part of our lives, the ability for them to have an emotional connection with us will be important," Shepherd says. "So to be able to change their color in response to mood or the tone of the room we believe is going to be important for human-robot interactions."

The HLEC, which can endure more than twice the strain of previously tested stretchable displays, is capable of being integrated into a soft robotic system.

The material also has applications in wearable electronics in that it would help enable devices to fully conform to the wearer's shape.

From Cornell Chronicle
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