Movement Detection in Soft Robotic Gripper using Sinusoidally Embedded Fiber Optic Sensor
Soft robotics is an emerging field, since it offers distinct opportunities in areas where conventional rigid robots are not a feasible solution. However, due to the complex motions of soft robots and the stretchable nature of soft building materials, conventional electronic and fiber optic sensors cannot be used in soft robots, thus, hindering the soft robots' ability to sense and respond to their surroundings. Fiber Bragg grating (FBG)-based sensors are very popular among various fiber optic
... nsors, but their stiff nature makes it challenging to be used in soft robotics. In this study, a soft robotic gripper with a sinusoidally embedded stretchable FBG-based fiber optic sensor is demonstrated. Unlike a straight FBG embedding configuration, this unique sinusoidal configuration prevents sensor dislocation, supports stretchability and improves sensitivity by seven times when compared to a straight configuration. Furthermore, the sinusoidally embedded FBG facilitates the detection of various movements and events occurring at the soft robotic gripper, such as (de)actuation, object holding and external perturbation. The combination of a soft robot and stretchable fiber optic sensor is a novel approach to enable a soft robot to sense and response to its surroundings, as well as to provide its operation status to the controller.