Electromagnetically Enhanced Soft & Flexible Bend Sensor: A Quantitative Analysis with Different Cores

Abstract

Advantages of soft, flexible materials with developments in refined magnetic actuation can be intertwined for a promising platform to work on a resilient, adaptable manipulator aimed to meet ever-increasing demands in safe regulated medical environments. Taking advantages of these soft magnetic polymers, we propose a novel, soft-squishy and flexible bend sensor by determining the relationship between inductance changes with bending angle. This bend sensor employs flexible wire embedded in a silicone elastomer with the different permeable core. The principle notion is to have a comprehensive analysis of the change in morphology of the sensor with bending angle which can be translated to inductance generated therein. The performance of the sensor is evaluated with various experimental trials while analytical modelling elucidates that the bend angle is linearly proportional to the sensor signal citing R-square value up to 0.9204. The proposed sensor produces the desired output in the EM frequency range of 8 MHz – 10 MHz with a tunable sensitivity of 0.418 mV/rad. The sensor is robust enough to stretch up to twice of its original length. The main advantage of this bend sensor is its simple fabrication technique, flexibility, robustness and economical. Conclusively, this work on induction based tactile bending sensor is proved to produce robust output and can be extrapolated to sense bending angle using induction principle for the rehabilitative device, wearable robots and related biomedical applications requiring low cost, soft and flexible operations.

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