A synthetic optical lace developed by a Cornell Ph.D. student creates a linked sensory network similar to a biological nervous system. The flexible, porous lattice structure is manufactured from 3D-printed polyurethane with a core that is threaded with stretchable optical fibers containing more than a dozen mechanosensors. An LED light illuminates the fiber.
The optical lace is not a skin coating for robots; it is more like the flesh itself. Robots fitted with the material would be better suited for the healthcare industry, specifically beginning-of-life and end-of-life care.