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Screen-printed curvature sensors for soft robots

Research output: Other conference contributionPaper, poster or abstractProfessional


Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 14 May 2018
EventMicronano System Workshop - Dipoli, Espoo, Finland
Duration: 13 May 201815 May 2018


ConferenceMicronano System Workshop
Abbreviated titleMSW
Internet address


Castable elastomers have been used to fabricate soft robotic devices and it has been shown that the technique scales well from prototyping to mass manufacturing. However, similarly scalable techniques for integrating strain or curvature sensors into such devices are still lacking. In this poster, we will summarize our recent progress1,2 towards integrating screen-printed silver-ink curvature sensors into soft robotic devices.
The curvature sensors are fabricated onto elastomer substrates in a single screen-printing step and then integrated into soft pneumatic actuators. We have characterized the resistance-curvature relationship of the sensors, which allows the curvature of the actuators to be estimated from the sensor measurements. Hysteresis was observed, which does limit the absolute accuracy of the sensors. However, temperature characterizations showed that the sensor measurements are not significantly affected by temperature fluctuations during normal operation. Dynamic experiments showed that the system bandwidth is limited by the actuators, rather than the sensors. We experimentally validated that these sensors can be used to detect whether the motion of an actuator has been blocked, clearing the way towards simple-to-fabricate soft robots that react to their surroundings. Finally, we demonstrate a three-fingered soft robotic gripper with integrated sensors. We conclude that screen-printing is a promising way to integrate curvature sensors into soft robots.


  • Soft robotics, stretchable electronics

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