Researchers at Cornell University's Organic Robotics Lab have developed a stretchable optical lace that could give soft robots a soft touch.
The synthetic material creates a linked sensory network similar to a biological nervous system that would enable robots to better sense how they interact with their environment, and adjust their actions accordingly.
The researchers used a flexible, porous lattice structure manufactured from three-dimensionally-printed polyurethane.
The team threaded the lattice structure's core with stretchable optical fibers containing more than a dozen mechanosensors, and attached an LED light to illuminate the fiber.
When the researchers pressed the lattice structure at various points, the sensors were able to identify changes in the photon flow.
Said Cornell’s Patricia Xu, "When the structure deforms, you have contact between the input line and the output lines, and the light jumps into these output loops in the structure, so you can tell where the contact is happening."
From Cornell Chronicle (NY)
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Abstracts Copyright © 2019 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA
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