Self-Healing Soft Robot Utilizing Stretchable Fiber-Optic Sensors

Soft robot that detects and heals its own damage

Shepherd’s Organic Robotics Lab uses fiber-optic stretch sensors to create soft robots, from skin to wearable tech.

Fiber-optic sensors use light from an LED that is sent through a waveguide. A photodiode then detects the changes in intensity of the beam to determine if the material has been deformed. The technology has the advantage that even if the waveguides have been punctured or slit, the light can still be propagated.

Researchers combined the sensors and a polyurethane-urea elastomer with hydrogen bonds for rapid healing as well as disulfide interchanges for strength.