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Optical lace — lacings of stretchable optical fibers distributed throughout 3D-printed elastomer frameworks — could be used to create a linked sensory network similar to a biological nervous system that would enable soft robots to sense how they interact with their environment and adjust their motions accordingly. The synthetic material was developed at Cornell University by a research team led by Patricia Xu in the lab managed by professor Rob Shepherd.
For the optical lace, the researchers used a flexible, porous lattice structure manufactured from 3D-printed polyurethane. They threaded its core with stretchable optical fibers containing more than a dozen mechanosensors. They then attached an LED light to illuminate the…READ MORE