Specialty Fabrics Review July 2022 - 16

[ BRIEFS ]
breakthroughs
Innovations in advanced textiles
Streamlining the design
and fabrication of soft,
assistive wearables
S
cientists from MIT's Computer Science
and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory
(CSAIL) have devised a scalable pipeline
to computationally design and digitally
fabricate soft pneumatic actuators. Called
" PneuAct, " it has resolved the challenge with
soft robotics, which have required manual
design and fabrication.
PneuAct uses a machine knitting process,
which operates autonomously. A human
designer specifies the stitch and sensor
design patterns in software to program how
the actuator will move, and it can then be
simulated before printing. The textile piece
is fabricated by the knitting machine, which
can be fixed to an inexpensive, off-the-shelf
Ionic skin could improve prosthetic devices
R
esearchers have worked to build a smart skin that can mimic the sensing
capabilities of natural skin, but until now, this has been elusive. A team of
scientists at the University of British Columbia (UBC) have had success with ionic
skins made of flexible, biocompatible hydrogels that use ions to carry an electrical
charge. These hydrogels have the softness of real skin, which offers a more natural
feel to a prosthetic arm or robotic hand.
Hydrogel sensors can produce voltages and currents in reaction to stimuli, but
scientists didn't understand how, said the study's lead author Yuta Dobashi. The
researchers ultimately confirmed that the hydrogels work in a similar way to how
humans detect pressure.
The market for smart skins is continuing to grow, according to Dobashi's faculty
advisor, Dr. John Madden. " Smart skins can be integrated into clothing or placed
directly on the skin, and ionic skins are one of the technologies that can further
that growth, " Madden says.
16 SPECIALTY FABRICS REVIEW / July 2022
rubber silicone tube to complete the actuator.
The knitted actuator integrates conductive
yarn for sensing, allowing the actuators to
" feel " what they touch.
The team designed several prototypes. The
glove, for example, can be worn to supplement
finger muscle movement, minimizing the
amount of muscle activity needed to complete
tasks and motions. This holds potential
for those with an injury, limited mobility or
experiencing other trauma to the fingers.
Source: MIT CSAIL
Yuta Dobashi, a graduate of UBC's master in
biomedical engineering program, and faculty advisor
Dr. John Madden, professor of electrical and computer
engineering in the faculty of applied science at UBC.
Photo: Kai Jacobson/UBC Faculty of Applied Science

Specialty Fabrics Review July 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Specialty Fabrics Review July 2022

Specialty Fabrics Review July 2022 - Cover1
Specialty Fabrics Review July 2022 - Cover2
Specialty Fabrics Review July 2022 - 1
Specialty Fabrics Review July 2022 - 2
Specialty Fabrics Review July 2022 - 3
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Specialty Fabrics Review July 2022 - cover3
Specialty Fabrics Review July 2022 - cover4
Specialty Fabrics Review July 2022 - Expo Brochure 1
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