Sci Adv. 2023 Aug 25;9(34):eadh9799. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.adh9799. Epub 2023 Aug 25.
Stretchable strain sensors are essential for various applications such as wearable electronics, prosthetics, and soft robotics. Strain sensors with high strain range, minimal hysteresis, and fast response speed are highly desirable for accurate measurements of large and dynamic deformations of soft bodies. Current stretchable strain sensors mostly rely on deformable conducting materials, which often have difficulties in achieving these properties simultaneously. In this study, we introduce capacitive strain sensor concepts based on origami-inspired three-dimensional mesoscale electrodes formed by a mechanically guided assembly process. These sensors exhibit up to 200% stretchability with 1.2% degree of hysteresis, <22 ms response time, small sensing area (~5 mm2), and directional strain responses. To showcase potential applications, we demonstrate the use of distributed strain sensors for measuring multimodal deformations of a soft continuum arm.