Aerosol-jet-printed, conformable microfluidic force sensors

Abstract

Force sensors that are thin, low-cost, flexible, and compatible with commercial microelectronic chips are of great interest for use in biomedical sensing, precision surgery, and robotics. By leveraging a combination of microfluidics and capacitive sensing, we develop a thin, flexible force sensor that is conformable and robust. The sensor consists of a partially filled microfluidic channel made from a deformable material, with the channel overlaying a series of interdigitated electrodes coated with a thin, insulating polymer layer. When a force is applied to the microfluidic channel reservoir, the fluid is displaced along the channel over the electrodes, thus inducing a capacitance change proportional to the applied force. The microfluidic molds themselves are made of low-cost sacrificial materials deposited via aerosol-jet printing, which is also used to print the electrode layer. We envisage a large range of industrial and biomedical applications for this force sensor.

Publication
In Cell Reports Physical Science
Alizée Pace
Alizée Pace
PhD Student in Machine Learning

Interested in machine learning for medicine.