Paper Caterpillar – Instant Inkjet Sensors & Actuators

Publication: T. D. Ta, T. Umedachi, Y. Kawahara, “Instant Inkjet Actuator and Sensor for Soft-bodied Crawling Robots”, Proc. of IEEE ICRA’19. pp. 3658-3664, May 2019

Soft-bodied robots are getting attention from researchers as their potential in designing compliant and adaptive robots. However, soft-bodied robots also pose many challenges not only in non-linear controlling but also in design and fabrication. Especially, the non-compatibility between soft materials and rigid sensors/actuators makes it more difficult to design a fully compliant soft-bodied robot. In this paper, we propose an all-printed sensor and actuator for designing soft-bodied robots by printing silver nano-particle ink on top of a flexible plastic film. We can print bending sensors and thermal based actuators instantly with home-commodity inkjet printers without any pre/post-processing. We exemplify the application of this fabrication method with an all-printed paper caterpillar robots which can inch forward and sense its body bending angle.

Instant Inkjet Actuators & Sensors
Thermography of the instant inkjet actuators & sensors