The Tech Briefs TV Channel
Sign In | Support

Light-Up, Highly Stretchable Skin for Tactile Robotic Sensing
The skins of some cephalopods, like the octopus, are highly flexible and contain color-changing cells. These cells are filled with pigments that enable rapid and detailed camouflaging abilities. A Cornell University engineering team has developed a stretchable electroluminescent actuator and the material could be highly stretched, could emit light, and could also sense internal and external pressure. Layers of transparent hydrogel electrodes sandwich a ZnS phosphor-doped dielectric elastomer layer, creating thin rubber sheets that change illuminance and capacitance under deformation. Arrays of individually controllable pixels in thin rubber sheets were fabricated using replica molding and were subjected to stretching, folding, and rolling to demonstrate their use as stretchable displays. These sheets were then integrated into the skin of a soft robot, providing it with dynamic coloration and sensory feedback from external and internal stimuli. The soft robot demonstrated these combined capabilities by stretching and emitting light as it moved.
Related Videos