Nature is an unlimited source of inspiration for soft bionic sensors and actuators, which have been recently spotlighted for applications in soft robotics. Soft bionic sensors are sensing platforms that can bend, stretch, or morph shapes to allow for the detection of external stimuli such as force, displacement, pressure, temperature, or chemicals under slight mechanical deformations. Soft robotics technologies have now evolved beyond tactile sensing, and devices with displacement, temperature, or light detection capabilities are currently under development. Owing to advances in the field of conductive composite materials, various types of soft bionic sensors have been introduced, such as flexible, stretchable, and wearable sensors. With respect to soft bionic actuators, early developments on dielectric elastomers have led to the recent realization of artificial muscles based on smart polymer materials. While pneumatic actuators have opened the field of soft robotics, recent developments include various soft and smart actuating mechanisms using fluids, chemicals, and soft materials. Also, novel manufacturing technologies, such as 3D printing, have been ushering the advancedment of soft bionic actuators for soft robotic fingers inspired by biomimetic structures such as insects, or adopted by architectured solids like auxetic or origami structures. Owing to the increased interest in flexible soft robotics, which is expected to offer alternative ways to build soft and diverse robots, soft bionic sensors are anticipated to consistently grow in importance and become industrially relevant.
Soft Bionic Sensors and Actuators
Woo Soo Kim
Published in: Advanced Intelligent Systems,
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Access: Open Acccess