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3D-printed underwater vortex sensor mimics whiskers of sea animal

January 16, 2018

New Rochelle, NY, January 15, 2018--A new study has shown that a fully 3D-printed whisker sensor made of polyurethane, graphene, and copper tape can detect underwater vortexes with very high sensitivity. The simple design, mechanical reliability, and low-cost fabrication method contribute to the important commercial implications of this versatile new sensor, as described in an article in Soft Robotics, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The article is available free on the Soft Robotics website until February 15, 2018.

Coauthors Jahan Zeb Gul, Kim Young Su, and Kyung Hyun Choi, Jeju National University, South Korea, provide a detailed description of the sensor, which mimics the vortex-detecting capability of the whiskers of a pinniped -- a semiaquatic carnivore -- as it tracks its prey in the water. The researchers report on the 3D fabrication method used to produce the whisker sensor and how the analog signals that indicate resistance changes are digitized and fed to a microcontroller for vertex detection.

The article is entitled "Fully 3D Printed Multi-Material Soft Bio-Inspired Whisker Sensor for Underwater Induced Vortex Detection."

"This paper is a wonderful example of bioinspired soft robotics. The authors have used observations of a natural system to build a materials-based sensor that can be used on underwater robots for better positional control, navigation, and object detection," says Editor-in-Chief Barry A. Trimmer, PhD, who directs the Neuromechanics and Biomimetic Devices Laboratory at Tufts University (Medford, MA).
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About the Journal

Soft Robotics, a peer-reviewed journal published bimonthly online with Open Access options and in print, combines advances in biomedical engineering, biomechanics, mathematical modeling, biopolymer chemistry, computer science, and tissue engineering to present new approaches to the creation of robotic technology and devices that can undergo dramatic changes in shape and size in order to adapt to various environments. Led by Editor-in-Chief Barry A. Trimmer, PhD, and a distinguished team of Associate Editors, the Journal provides the latest research and developments on topics such as soft material creation, characterization, and modeling; flexible and degradable electronics; soft actuators and sensors; control and simulation of highly deformable structures; biomechanics and control of soft animals and tissues; biohybrid devices and living machines; and design and fabrication of conformable machines. Tables of content and a sample issue can be viewed on the Soft Robotics website.

About the Publisher

Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers is a privately held, fully integrated media company known for establishing authoritative peer-reviewed journals in many promising areas of science, technology, and biomedical research, including 3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing and Tissue Engineering. Its biotechnology trade magazine, Genetic Engineering News (GEN), was the first in its field and is today the industry's most widely read publication worldwide. A complete list of the firm's 80 journals, books, and newsmagazines is available on the Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers website.

Mary Ann Liebert, Inc./Genetic Engineering News

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