An ultra-sensitive strain sensor that is at the same time extremely resilient can be embedded into textiles and soft robotic systems.
“Current soft strain gauges are really sensitive, but also really fragile and strong sensors are not usually very sensitive, so we needed to find mechanisms that could give us enough of each property,” said Oluwaseun Araromi, a research associate at Harvard University’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering in Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
The researchers have created a design that looks and behaves like a Slinky. “A Slinky is a solid cylinder of rigid metal, but if you pattern it into this spiral shape it becomes stretchable,” said Araromi. “That is essentially what we have created. We started with a rigid bulk material – in this case carbon fibre – and patterned it in such a way that the material becomes stretchable.”
For the full story, see the December 2020 edition of Smart Textiles & Wearables.