Electropneumotactile Stimulation: Multimodal Haptic Actuators Enabled by a Stretchable Conductive Polymer on Inflatable Pockets
ADVANCED MATERIALS TECHNOLOGIES
2020; 5 (6)
This paper describes a type of haptic device that delivers two modes of stimulation simultaneously and at the same locations on the skin. The two modes of stimulation are mechanical (delivered pneumatically by inflatable air pockets embedded within a silicone elastomer) and electrical (delivered by a conductive polymer). The key enabling aspect of this work is the use of a highly plasticized conductive polymer based on poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiphene) (PEDOT) blended with elastomeric polyurethane (PU). To fabricate the "electropneumotactile" device, the polymeric electrodes are overlaid directly on top of the elastomeric pneumatic actuator pockets. Co-placement of the pneumatic actuators and the electrotactile electrodes is enabled by the stretchability of the PEDOT:OTs/PU blend, allowing the electrotactiles to conform to underlying pneumatic pockets under deformation. The blend of PEDOT and PU has a Young's modulus of ~150 MPa with little degradation in conductivity following repeated inflation of the air pockets. The ability to perceive simultaneous delivery of two sensations to the same location on the skin are supported by experiments using human subjects. These results show that participants can successfully detect the location of pneumatic stimulation and whether electrotactile stimulation is delivered (yes/no) at a rate significantly above chance (mean accuracy = 94%).
View details for DOI 10.1002/admt.201901119
View details for Web of Science ID 000530399200001
View details for PubMedID 32905479
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC7469953
Healable thermoplastic for kinesthetic feedback in wearable haptic devices
SENSORS AND ACTUATORS A-PHYSICAL
2019; 288: 79-85
The word "haptics" refers to technologies designed to stimulate the tactile and kinesthetic senses. Kinesthesia-the sense of motion-is triggered by imposing forces upon the joints, tendons, and muscles to recreate the geometry and stiffness of objects, as may be useful in physical therapy or virtual reality. Here, we introduce a form of kinesthetic feedback by manipulating the mechanical properties of spandex impregnated with a thermoplastic polymer. Heating or cooling this textile-thermoplastic composite just above or below its glass transition temperature (T g) dramatically changes its mechanical properties (corresponding to a decrease in storage modulus from 36 MPa to 0.55 MPa). In the form of a glove, the composite can also be healed after inadvertent overextension in its stiffened state by heating it above its T g. When fitted with thermoelectric devices for active heating and cooling, the flexible or stiffened state of a glove can be perceived by human subjects. As an example of a human-machine interface, the glove is used to control a robotic finger. When the robotic finger makes contact with a wall, a signal is sent to thermoelectric devices in the glove to cool (stiffen the finger) and thus provide kinesthetic feedback to the user.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.sna.2019.01.032
View details for Web of Science ID 000463130000011
View details for PubMedID 31777429
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC6880936