Soft Robotic Fingers Measure Pressure, Movement, and Temperature

Inspired by our bodies' sensory capabilities, Harvard researchers have developed a platform for creating soft robots with embedded sensors that can sense movement, pressure, touch, and even temperature. The technique - known as embedded 3D printing - seamlessly and quickly integrates multiple features and materials within a single soft body. To test the sensors, the team printed a soft robotic gripper comprised of three soft fingers - or actuators. The researchers tested the gripper's ability to measure inflation pressure, curvature, contact, and temperature. They embedded multiple contact sensors, so the gripper could sense light and deep touches.