Researchers at Purdue University have developed a soft sensor toolkit
A technology, called iSoft, with its accompanying software platform can be customized to interact with everything from gamepads to televisions. Developed by a research team at the University of Purdue, this latest sensor could offer a low-cost way to get tactile tech into the hands of the masses. “The novel part of iSoft is that it does not need any wiring or electronics within the material,” said Karthik Ramani, Purdue University’s Donald W. Feddersen Professor of Mechanical Engineering and director of the C Design Lab.
Interestingly, even if you have no professional knowledge of electronics you can modify any object with it, including objects with complex shapes. Unlike some soft sensors developed previously, iSoft can handle continuous contact and also can be easily modified for custom purposes after manufacture.
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The iSoft sensor is made of a piezoresistive carbon-ﬁlled silicone rubber, which when touched changes electrical resistance to provide sensing data and an algorithm allows the it to continuously interact with interfaces even while it’s being stretched or deformed.
A patent has been filed by the Purdue Research Foundation’s Office of Technology commercialization. The work was partially supported by the National Science Foundation, National Robotics Initiative and an NSF IGERT grant in sustainable electronics.