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

January 15, 2018, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc
Credit: Mary Ann Liebert, Inc

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

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 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 . 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).

Explore further: Designing soft robots: Ethics-based guidelines for human-robot interactions

More information: Jahan Zeb Gul et al. Fully 3D Printed Multi-Material Soft Bio-Inspired Whisker Sensor for Underwater-Induced Vortex Detection, Soft Robotics (2018). DOI: 10.1089/soro.2016.0069

Related Stories

Using simulation tools to optimize soft robotic systems

January 23, 2017

Simulation is a valuable tool to improve the energy efficiency of machines and it is now being used to analyze and optimize soft robotic systems to increase their utility, as described in an article published in Soft Robotics, ...

Recommended for you

Technology near for real-time TV political fact checks

January 18, 2019

A Duke University team expects to have a product available for election year that will allow television networks to offer real-time fact checks onscreen when a politician makes a questionable claim during a speech or debate.

Privacy becomes a selling point at tech show

January 7, 2019

Apple is not among the exhibitors at the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show, but that didn't prevent the iPhone maker from sending a message to attendees on a large billboard.

China's Huawei unveils chip for global big data market

January 7, 2019

Huawei Technologies Ltd. showed off a new processor chip for data centers and cloud computing Monday, expanding into new and growing markets despite Western warnings the company might be a security risk.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.