Embedment of sensing elements for robust, highly sensitive, and cross-talk-free iontronic skins for robotics applications

Sci Adv. 2023 Mar 3;9(9):eadf8831. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.adf8831. Epub 2023 Mar 3.


Iontronic pressure sensors are promising in robot haptics because they can achieve high sensing performance using nanoscale electric double layers (EDLs) for capacitive signal output. However, it is challenging to achieve both high sensitivity and high mechanical stability in these devices. Iontronic sensors need microstructures that offer subtly changeable EDL interfaces to boost sensitivity, while the microstructured interfaces are mechanically weak. Here, we embed isolated microstructured ionic gel (IMIG) in a hole array (28 × 28) of elastomeric matrix and cross-link the IMIGs laterally to achieve enhanced interfacial robustness without sacrificing sensitivity. The embedded configuration toughens and strengthens the skin by pinning cracks and by the elastic dissipation of the interhole structures. Furthermore, cross-talk between the sensing elements is suppressed by isolating the ionic materials and by designing a circuit with a compensation algorithm. We have demonstrated that the skin is potentially useful for robotic manipulation tasks and object recognition.

PMID:36867698 | PMC:PMC9984179 | DOI:10.1126/sciadv.adf8831


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