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Harvard University's 3D Printing Flexible Robot Can Sense Movement, Pressure And Temperature.
Mar 01, 2018

Researchers at Harvard University have developed a platform that is used to create 3D printing with embedded sensors, flexible robot, the sensors can detect motion, pressure, touch, and temperature.The researchers call it "fundamental advances" in the field of soft robotics.


Harvard researchers used embedded sensors to print flexible robots

The John a. paulson institute for engineering and applied sciences (SEAS) and the wyss institute for bioincentive engineering recently developed A 3D printing platform for creating soft robots.

Previously, researchers at harvard have been able to build flexible robots that can perform all kinds of functions: swimming, holding objects, and even helping human hearts beat.However, no one can fully understand and respond to external stimuli.

Harvard's new 3D printing platform has changed all that, enabling scientists to create flexible robots that can sense movement, pressure, touch and temperature.This is a huge leap for soft robots and a very exciting application of additive manufacturing technology.

"Our research represents fundamental advances in the technology of soft robotics," said lead author Ryan Truby, the lead author of the study.Graduate from SEAS."Our manufacturing platform can easily integrate complex sensing patterns into flexible robotic systems."

The secret to this process is the sensor's own 3D printing, which is made of organic ionic liquid conductive ink.The ink can be printed in 3D in the soft elastomer matrix of the robot and soften the sensor, which will be rigid before.


Researcher Ryan Truby has previously worked on the world's first 3D printed autonomous soft robot.

So far, most of the integrated sensor/actuator systems used in soft robots have been very rudimentary, "says Michael Wehner, an ex-postdoctoral fellow at SEAS and co-author of the paper."Through the print directly in the soft system, ionic liquid sensor we opens a new route for the equipment design and manufacturing, will eventually allow real closed-loop control for soft robots."

The process involves the use of embedded 3D printing technology, pioneered by the Wyss institute's own Jennifer a. Lewis."The functionality and design flexibility of this approach is unmatched," says Truby."This new ink is combined with our embedded 3D printing technology to enable us to combine soft sensing and drive in an integrated flexible robot system."

Harvard University researchers tested their 3D printing platform, they by making a soft robot gripper to test the inflatable, curvature, contact pressure and temperature, they say their new technology can change the way the creation of the robot.They now plan to try machine learning to improve soft robotic equipment.

The research paper has been published in Advanced Materials "through embedded 3D printing to achieve flexible body actuators".