Professor Yongtaek Hong, Stretch and stretch! ‘Elastic material’ that will be used for soft robot skin(YTN Science, 20180601)

2018-06-07l Hit 554

In order to create a ‘soft robot’ that moves flexibly like a living animal, soft material is required.
Recently, functional materials without performance loss even when stretched or crumpled are being developed one after another. Hyeri Lee( 이혜리) has a report on this development.

Fingers connected to artificial skin are bending and unfolding as if they are alive.
The artificial skin, thinner than 1mm, is moving based on order signals received wirelessly.
This skin contains several chips that can receive and process signals through wireless communication.
There are no operational issues even if it is compressed or even crumpled.
This was created by a simple printing process after securing individual chips inside a specially designed structure.

[Yongtaek Hong / Professor of Dept. of Electrical and Computer Engineering, SNU : We implemented the system by finding communication chips and antennae of minimal size. Although there are many chips, because each are connected with stretchable electrodes, the system operates properly even when its form is warped.]

The light bulb does not switch off even if the wire is stretched.
This is a ‘new concept wire’ that stretches like a yeot(Korean taffy) stick.

After solidifying the water-like material hydrogel, a thin spread of rubber, approximately half the thickness of hair, was applied.
The aim of this process is to maximize the elasticity of the material.
Here, by creating electro-conductive paths of silver, this can be used as a wire.

[Jae-Min Hong / Director General of KIST Jeonbuk Institute of Advanced Composite Materials : It can be stretched to 18 times — 18.8 times to be accurate — its original length. This is a huge advancement compared to the previous world’s best, which could be stretched 5~6 times its length.]

These materials with excellent elasticity can be used diversely for ‘soft robots’, which require soft material, as well as wearable devices.

It is predicted that the development of new materials will be accompanied by the advancement of soft robots capable of rescue and exploration in locations inaccessible to people.

Translated by: Jee Hyun Lee, English Editor of Dept. of Electrical and Computer Engineering,