wileyonlinelibrary.comSkin-mountable and wearable sensors can be attached onto the clothing or even directly mounted on the human skin for the real-time monitoring of human activities. [ 10 ] Besides their high effi ciency, they must fulfi ll several minimum requirements including high stretchability, fl exibility, durability, low power consumption, biocompatibility, and lightweight. These demands become even more severe for epidermal electronic devices where mechanical compliance like human skin and high stretchability ( ε > 100% where ε is the strain) are required. [ 11,12 ] Recently, several types of skin-mountable and wearable sensors have been proposed by using nanomaterials coupled with fl exible and stretchable polymers. Indeed, nanomaterials are utilized as functional sensing elements owing to their outstanding electrical, mechanical, optical, and chemical properties while polymers are employed as fl exible support materials thanks to their fl exibility, stretchability, humanfriendliness, and durability. [ 13 ] Examples of those innovative sensors include strain sensors, [ 10, pressure sensors, [ 5, electronic skins (e-skins), [ 3, and temperature sensors. [ 2,21,22 ] Particularly, various skin-mountable and wearable strain sensors have been developed because of their broad applications in personalized heath-monitoring, human motion detection, human-machine interfaces, and soft robotics. [ 10,12, This paper aims to survey fabrication processes, working mechanisms, strain sensing performances, and applications of stretchable strain sensors. The article is organized as follows: fi rst, common operation mechanisms of stretchable strain sensors are described. Here, we summarize novel functional nanomaterials and techniques for the fabrication of stretchable strain sensors in details. Second, mechanisms involved in the strain-responsive behavior of resistive-type and capacitive-type sensors are explained. We show that the infl uence of traditional mechanisms like geometrical changes and piezoresistivity of materials on the strain sensing performance of fl exible strain sensors are very small whereas mechanisms such as disconnection between sensing elements, crack propagation in thin fi lms, and tunneling effect can potentially be employed for highly stretchable and sensitive strain sensing. Third, we emphasize the performance parameters of stretchable strain sensors in terms of stretchability, sensitivity, linearity, hysteresis behavior, response time, overshooting, and durability. We demonstrate
Untethered small-scale (from several millimetres down to a few micrometres in all dimensions) robots that can non-invasively access confined, enclosed spaces may enable applications in microfactories such as the construction of tissue scaffolds by robotic assembly, in bioengineering such as single-cell manipulation and biosensing, and in healthcare such as targeted drug delivery and minimally invasive surgery. Existing small-scale robots, however, have very limited mobility because they are unable to negotiate obstacles and changes in texture or material in unstructured environments. Of these small-scale robots, soft robots have greater potential to realize high mobility via multimodal locomotion, because such machines have higher degrees of freedom than their rigid counterparts. Here we demonstrate magneto-elastic soft millimetre-scale robots that can swim inside and on the surface of liquids, climb liquid menisci, roll and walk on solid surfaces, jump over obstacles, and crawl within narrow tunnels. These robots can transit reversibly between different liquid and solid terrains, as well as switch between locomotive modes. They can additionally execute pick-and-place and cargo-release tasks. We also present theoretical models to explain how the robots move. Like the large-scale robots that can be used to study locomotion, these soft small-scale robots could be used to study soft-bodied locomotion produced by small organisms.
Geckos have evolved one of the most versatile and effective adhesives known. The mechanism of dry adhesion in the millions of setae on the toes of geckos has been the focus of scientific study for over a century. We provide the first direct experimental evidence for dry adhesion of gecko setae by van der Waals forces, and reject the use of mechanisms relying on high surface polarity, including capillary adhesion. The toes of live Tokay geckos were highly hydrophobic, and adhered equally well to strongly hydrophobic and strongly hydrophilic, polarizable surfaces. Adhesion of a single isolated gecko seta was equally effective on the hydrophobic and hydrophilic surfaces of a microelectro-mechanical systems force sensor. A van der Waals mechanism implies that the remarkable adhesive properties of gecko setae are merely a result of the size and shape of the tips, and are not strongly affected by surface chemistry. Theory predicts greater adhesive forces simply from subdividing setae to increase surface density, and suggests a possible design principle underlying the repeated, convergent evolution of dry adhesive microstructures in gecko, anoles, skinks, and insects. Estimates using a standard adhesion model and our measured forces come remarkably close to predicting the tip size of Tokay gecko seta. We verified the dependence on size and not surface type by using physical models of setal tips nanofabricated from two different materials. Both artificial setal tips stuck as predicted and provide a path to manufacturing the first dry, adhesive microstructures.I n the 4th century B.C., Aristotle observed the ability of the gecko to ''run up and down a tree in any way, even with the head downwards'' (1). Two millennia later, we are uncovering the secrets of how geckos use millions of tiny foot-hairs to adhere to even molecularly smooth surfaces. We tested the two currently competing hypotheses (2, 3) of adhesion mechanisms in gecko setae: (i) thin-film capillary forces (or other mechanisms relying on hydrophilicity) and (ii) van der Waals forces. First, we tested the capillary and van der Waals hypotheses experimentally. Second, we used our experimentally measured adhesion forces in a mathematical model (4) to generate an independent prediction of the size of a setal tip. We compared the predicted size with the empirical values measured by electron microscopy (5). Third, we fabricated a physical model of gecko setal tips from two different materials. We then compared the adhesive function of the physical model to predicted force values from the mathematical model. Previously, we showed by calculation that our direct force measurements of a single gecko seta (3) were consistent with adhesion by van der Waals forces, but we could not reject the only other untested mechanism-wet, capillary adhesion that relies on the hydrophilic nature of the surface. Capillary forces contribute to adhesion in many insects (6-13), frogs (14-16), and even some mammals (17). Unlike many insects, geckos lack glands on the surfaces of their feet...
This review comprises a detailed survey of ongoing methodologies for soft actuators, highlighting approaches suitable for nanometer- to centimeter-scale robotic applications. Soft robots present a special design challenge in that their actuation and sensing mechanisms are often highly integrated with the robot body and overall functionality. When less than a centimeter, they belong to an even more special subcategory of robots or devices, in that they often lack on-board power, sensing, computation, and control. Soft, active materials are particularly well suited for this task, with a wide range of stimulants and a number of impressive examples, demonstrating large deformations, high motion complexities, and varied multifunctionality. Recent research includes both the development of new materials and composites, as well as novel implementations leveraging the unique properties of soft materials.
Shape-programmable matter is a class of active materials whose geometry can be controlled to potentially achieve mechanical functionalities beyond those of traditional machines. Among these materials, magnetically actuated matter is particularly promising for achieving complex time-varying shapes at small scale (overall dimensions smaller than 1 cm). However, previous work can only program these materials for limited applications, as they rely solely on human intuition to approximate the required magnetization profile and actuating magnetic fields for their materials. Here, we propose a universal programming methodology that can automatically generate the required magnetization profile and actuating fields for soft matter to achieve new time-varying shapes. The universality of the proposed method can therefore inspire a vast number of miniature soft devices that are critical in robotics, smart engineering surfaces and materials, and biomedical devices. Our proposed method includes theoretical formulations, computational strategies, and fabrication procedures for programming magnetic soft matter. The presented theory and computational method are universal for programming 2D or 3D time-varying shapes, whereas the fabrication technique is generic only for creating planar beams. Based on the proposed programming method, we created a jellyfish-like robot, a spermatozoid-like undulating swimmer, and an artificial cilium that could mimic the complex beating patterns of its biological counterpart.programmable matter | multifunctional materials | soft robots | magnetic actuation | miniature devices S hape-programmable matter refers to active materials that can be controlled by heat (1-5), light (6, 7), chemicals (8-13), pressure (14, 15), electric fields (16, 17), or magnetic fields (18-33) to generate desired folding or bending. As these materials can reshape their geometries to achieve desired time-varying shapes, they have the potential to create mechanical functionalities beyond those of traditional machines (1, 15). The functionalities of shape-programmable materials are especially appealing for miniature devices whose overall dimensions are smaller than 1 cm as these materials could significantly augment their locomotion and manipulation capabilities. The development of highly functional miniature devices is enticing because, despite having only simple rigid-body motions (34-36) and gripping capabilities (37), existing miniature devices have already been used across a wide range of applications pertaining to microfluidics (38, 39), microfactories (40, 41), bioengineering (42, 43), and health care (35, 44).Among shape-programmable matter, the magnetically actuated materials are particularly promising for creating complex timevarying shapes at small scales because their control inputs, in the form of magnetic fields, can be specified not only in magnitude but also in their direction and spatial gradients. Furthermore, as they can be fabricated with a continuum magnetization profile, m, along their bodies, these magne...
Untethered robots miniaturized to the length scale of millimeter and below attract growing attention for the prospect of transforming many aspects of health care and bioengineering. As the robot size goes down to the order of a single cell, previously inaccessible body sites would become available for high-resolution in situ and in vivo manipulations. This unprecedented direct access would enable an extensive range of minimally invasive medical operations. Here, we provide a comprehensive review of the current advances in biome dical untethered mobile milli/microrobots. We put a special emphasis on the potential impacts of biomedical microrobots in the near future. Finally, we discuss the existing challenges and emerging concepts associated with designing such a miniaturized robot for operation inside a biological environment for biomedical applications.
-This paper proposes techniques to fabricate synthetic gecko foot-hairs for future wall-climbing robots, and models for understanding the synthetic hair design issues. Two nanomolding fabrication techniques are proposed: the first method uses nanoprobe indented flat wax surface and the second one uses a nano-pore membrane as a template. These templates are molded with silicone rubber, polyimide, etc. type of polymers under vacuum. Next, design parameters such as length, diameter, stiffness, density, and orientation of hairs are determined for non matting and rough surface adaptability. Preliminary nano-hair prototypes showed adhesion close to the predicted values for natural specimens (around 100 nN each).
Arrays of gecko‐inspired angled polymer microfibers with angled mushroom tips adhere with similar strength to gecko subdigital toe‐pads in their gripping direction (∼100 kPa) on smooth surfaces (see image), but are easily released in the opposite direction. Control of adhesion in the normal direction is also possible by controlling drag distance during loading.
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