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Magnetic membrane polymers with onboard electronic skins for supervised actuation

Oliveros Mata, E. S.; Ha, M.; Canon Bermudez, G. S.; Liu, J. A.-C.; Evans, B. A.; Tracy, J. B.; Makarov, D.


Soft actuators have been developed to mimic the biomechanics of living organisms, enabling complex movements such as crawling, flapping, and twisting upon the application of physical and chemical stimuli [1]. Magnetic membrane soft polymers have been used for controlled, programmable, and fast actuation in uniform and gradient magnetic fields [2,3]. This allows for multipurpose biomimetic systems that can move untethered using permanent magnets and electromagnets for use in remote surgery, cargo transport, and artificial muscles [4]. To achieve the full potential of these types of soft actuators, it is needed a suitable system that mimics the sensory and proprioception capabilities of living beings.
Here, we show the integration of highly flexible electronic skins that are laminated to the body of magnetic flexible membranes to supervise their actuation mechanisms [5]. The electronic skins contain flexible magnetic field sensors based on thin films fabricated on ultrathin (2.5-µm-thick) polymeric foils. This highly compliant e-skin acts as an onboard sensory system of magnetic cues, such as the own magnetization state of the soft actuator and the magnetic fields employed for deforming the membranes. This allows the system to orient itself with respect to a reference magnetic source and be aware of its folding state. We demonstrate the signal readout and supervision of magnetic soft membrane actuators during their assembly into box and boat-like layouts [5].
[1] D. Rus, et al. Nature. 521, 467 (2015).
[2] X. Wang, et al. Commun. Mater. 67, 1 (2020)
[3] H. Chung, et al. Adv. Intell. Syst. 3, 2000186 (2021).
[4] S. Wu, et al. Multifunct. Mater. 3, 042003. (2020).
[5] M. Ha, E.S. Oliveros Mata, et al. Adv. Mater. 33, 2008751 (2021)

Keywords: magnetic; soft robot; actuator; polymer; composite

  • Lecture (Conference)
    European-MRS 2023 Spring Meeting, 29.05.-02.06.2023, Strasbourg, France


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