A research team at the National University of Singapore (NUS) led by Assistant Professor Chen Po-yen has taken the first step towards improving the safety and precision of industrial robotic weapons by developing a new range of nanometer strain sensors. Guna is more sensitive when measuring minute movements than current technology.
Constructed using flexible, stretchable and electronically conductive nanomaterials called MXenes, these novel strain sensors developed by the NUS team are ultra-thin, battery-free and can transmit data wirelessly. With these desirable properties, novel strain sensors can possibly be used for a wide range of applications.
Assistant Professor Chen, who is from the NUS Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, explained, “The performance of conventional strain sensors has always been limited by the nature of the sensing material used, and users have the ability to customize the sensor for specific applications.
There are limited options to do it. ” For this work, we have developed an explicit strategy to control the surface texture of Amnex, and this has enabled us to control the sensing performance of stress sensors for various soft exoskeletons. The sensor design principles developed in this work will greatly enhance the performance of electronic skins. And soft robots. ”
One area where novel stress sensors can be put to good use is in precision manufacturing, where robotic weapons are used to perform complex tasks, such as creating delicate products such as microchips.
These strain sensors developed by NUS researchers can be coated on a robotic arm like an electronic skin to measure subtle movements.
When placed along the joints of robotic arms, these stress sensors allow the system to understand precisely how much the robotic arms are moving and their current position relative to the resting state. Current off-the-shelf stress sensors do not have the accuracy and sensitivity required to perform this task.
Traditional automatic robotic weapons used in precision manufacturing require external cameras from different angles to help track their position and movement.
Ultra-sensitive strain sensors developed by the NUS team will help improve the overall safety of robotic arms by providing automatic feedback on precise movements with an error margin below one degree, and remove the need for external cameras as they position and movement. Can track without any visual input.
“It is a great pleasure for Realtech Singapore to work with Assistant Professor Chen Po-yen and his team at NUS to develop wireless sensor modules applied to soft robots and industrial robotic weapons. Our customer-specified sensing performance is accompanied by our Co-developed wireless sensors.
Allow robots to operate at high-precision speeds, and feedback sensing data can be transmitted wirelessly, which follows Realtek Singapore’s vision in a wireless smart factory. Realtech’s N.U.S. Will continue to build a strong collaboration with us and we look forward to bringing it forward. Technologies from the lab to the market, ”said Dr. Realtech Singapore President Dr. Ye Po-Leh said.
Customizable, ultra-sensitive sensor
The technological breakthrough is the development of a production process that allows NUS researchers to create highly customizable ultra-sensitive sensors over a wide working window with high signal-to-noise ratio.
The working window of a sensor determines how much it can stretch while retaining its sensing properties, and a higher signal-to-noise ratio means more precision because the sensor is between subtle vibrations and minute movements of the robot’s arm. Can make a difference.
This production process allows the team to optimize their sensors for any working window between 0 and 900 percent, while maintaining high sensitivity and signal-to-noise ratio.
Standard sensors can typically achieve a range of up to 100 percent. By combining multiple sensors with different working windows, NUS researchers can create a single ultra-sensitive sensor that would otherwise be impossible to obtain.
The research team took two years to develop this success and in September 2020 published their work in the scientific journal ACS Nano. They also have a working prototype of the application of the soft exoskeleton in soft robotic rehabilitation gloves.
“These advanced flexible sensors give our soft wearable robots an important ability to realize the patient’s motor performance, particularly in terms of their range of motion.
This ultimately allows the soft robot to better understand the patient’s ability and Will enable them to provide the necessary support to their hand movements., “Associate Professor Ray Yeow, who heads the Soft Robotics Lab at the NOM Department of Biomedical Engineering, and leads the Soft and Hybrid Robotics program under the National Robotics R&D Program Office .