Love robotics? Fill out the form below to stay
abreast of the latest news, research, and business
analysis in key areas of the fast-changing
robotics industry
Subscribe to Robotics
Trends Insights

Sponsored Links

Advertise with Robotics Trends
[ view all ]
Research and Academics
Bookmark and Share
STORY TOOLBOX Print this story  |   Email to a friend  |   RSS feeds
Soft Robotics Gets a Boost from Innovative Sewing
Sewing wire in a zigzag, embedding it in stretchable material and then dissolving the thread with warm water is a way to advance many practical, helpful applications.
By Judith Pfeffer - Filed Jun 16, 2014

More Research and Academics stories
An ordinary sewing machine could help make soft robotics capable of stretching up to 500 percent, which could lead to innovations on robots with humanlike sensory skin and synthetic muscle.

So say scientists at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., in a recently released paper detailing the findings of a study underwritten by the National Science Foundation.

To create ultra-stretchable interconnects, conventional wire is sewn in a zigzag pattern and embedded in a rubbery, stretchable "elastomer" called Ecoflex from Smooth-On Inc. of Easton, Pa.

The researchers sew the wire into a sheet of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) - the same material used to make transparencies for overheard projectors. The zigzag wire pattern is stitched to the PET sheets with a water-soluble thread. Then the rubbery stretchable polymer is poured over the sheet, encasing the wire as it solidified. Warm water is used to dissolve the thread, and the flexible polymer is separated from the PET sheet with the wire embedded in it.

The work is being spearheaded by Babak Ziaie professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering.

The paper was presented at the recent Solid-State Sensors, Actuators and Microsystems Workshop in Hilton Head Island, S.C. The paper was authored by doctoral student Rahim Rahimi. Ziaie, and doctoral students Manuel Ochoa and Wuyang Yu.

Soft robotics is a relatively new and growing field with myriad potential applications in the environmental and medical fields, according to this brief video from the National Science Foundation and featuring researchers from Tufts University.

Bookmark and Share
STORY TOOLBOX Print this story  |   Email to a friend  |   RSS feeds
Now you can follow Robotics Trends and
Robotics Trends Business Review on Facebook