Embedded Optical Sensors

The story linked below is about using optical sensors to improve touch feedback in robots. But a greater significance to this story is that we have the ability to embed stretchable optical sensors for a range of applications. While the sensors in this story are actually tactile sensors designed to provide touch sensitivity, they use optical properties to measure touch. The stretchable optic fibers can sense pressure, strain and curvature by the modulation of light in the fiber/sensor. They can be embedded into many different materials and can also carry optical image information. This opens the potential for everyday materials to record images and collect sensory data at the same time.

Optical Soft Sensor

– [youtube.com]

A light touch: Embedded optical sensors could make robotic hands more dexterous – [cmu.edu]

Optical sensors may be uniquely suited for use in robotic hands, according to Carnegie Mellon University researchers who have developed a three-fingered soft robotic hand with multiple embedded fiber optic sensors. They also have created a new type of stretchable optical sensor.

By using fiber optics, the researchers were able to embed 14 strain sensors into each of the fingers in the robotic hand, giving it the ability to determine where its fingertips are in contact and to detect forces of less than a tenth of a newton. The new stretchable optical sensing material, not incorporated in this version of the hand, potentially could be used in a soft robotic skin to provide even more feedback.

Flexible microfluidic tactile sensor for robotics, electronics and healthcare applications – [nanowerk.com]

A team of scientists from the National University of Singapore (NUS) Faculty of Engineering has developed a wearable liquid-based microfluidic tactile sensor that is small, thin, highly flexible and durable. Simple and cost-effective to produce, this novel device is very suitable for applications such as soft robotics, wearable consumer electronics, smart medical prosthetic devices, as well as real-time healthcare monitoring.

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