Soft sensors comprising a flexible matrix with embedded circuit elements can undergo large deformations while maintaining adequate performance. These devices have attracted considerable interest for their ability to be integrated with the human body and have enabled the design of skin-like health monitoring devices, sensing suits, and soft active orthotics. Numerical tools are needed to facilitate the development and optimization of these systems.

We introduce a 3D finite element-based numerical tool to simultaneously characterize the mechanical and electrical response of fluid-embedded soft sensors of arbitrary shape, subjected to any loading. We quantitatively verified the numerical approach by comparing simulation and experimental results of a dog-bone shaped sensor subjected to uniaxial stretch and local compression. Furthermore, we demonstrate the power of the numerical tool by examining a number of different loading conditions. We expect this work will open the door for further design of complex and optimal soft sensors.

Overvelde, J. T. B., Mengüç, Y., Polygerinos, P., Wang, Y., Wang, Z., Walsh, C. J., Wood, R. J., Bertoldi, K., (2014). Numerical Mechanical and Electrical Analysis of Soft Liquid-embedded Deformation Sensors. Extreme Mechanics Letters, 1, 42-46. [pdf]