TODAY’S PATENT – ARTIFICIAL SKIN AND ELASTIC STRAIN SENSOR
Today’s patent was invented by Robert J. Wood, Yong-Lae Park, Carmel S. Majidi, Bor-rong Chen, Leia Stirling, Conor James Walsh, Radhika Nagpal, Diana Young, and Yigit Menguc on January 7, 2020, bearing patent no. US10527507.
In order to detect and track the movements of the support structure, an elastic strain sensor that can detect flexing by the skin’s underlying support structure can be included into an artificial skin. A conducting liquid can be poured into two or more channels in an elastic substrate material to create the unidirectional elastic strain sensor. A loop port links the channels at their ends to create a serpentine channel. The sensor is unidirectional because the channels extend in the direction of the strain and the loop parts have enough cross-sectional area in the direction opposite the strain.
The serpentine channel’s ends measure resistance, which can be used to calculate the strain on the sensor. The sensitivity of the sensor can be increased by adding more channels. The sensitivity of the sensor can be increased by stacking the sensors on top of one another. Other implementations allow for the bonding of two sensors that are oriented differently on top of one another to create a bidirectional sensor. To create a three-dimensional sensor that can detect contact or pressure, a third sensor in the form of a spiral or concentric rings can be put on top. To enable improved sensing, the three-dimensional sensor can be embedded into an artificial skin.