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Conformable, Flexible, Large-Area Networks of Pressure and Thermal Sensors with Organic Transistor Active Matrixes

Takao Someya, Yusaku Kato, Tsuyoshi Sekitani, Shingo Iba, Yoshiaki Noguchi, Yousuke Murase, Hiroshi Kawaguchi, Takayasu Sakurai and George M. Whitesides
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Vol. 102, No. 35 (Aug. 30, 2005), pp. 12321-12325
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3376576
Page Count: 5
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Conformable, Flexible, Large-Area Networks of Pressure and Thermal Sensors with Organic Transistor Active Matrixes
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Abstract

Skin-like sensitivity, or the capability to recognize tactile information, will be an essential feature of future generations of robots, enabling them to operate in unstructured environments. Recently developed large-area pressure sensors made with organic transistors have been proposed for electronic artificial skin (E-skin) applications. These sensors are bendable down to a 2-mm radius, a size that is sufficiently small for the fabrication of human-sized robot fingers. Natural human skin, however, is far more complex than the transistor-based imitations demonstrated so far. It performs other functions, including thermal sensing. Furthermore, without conformability, the application of E-skin on three-dimensional surfaces is impossible. In this work, we have successfully developed conformable, flexible, large-area networks of thermal and pressure sensors based on an organic semiconductor. A plastic film with organic transistor-based electronic circuits is processed to form a net-shaped structure, which allows the E-skin films to be extended by 25%. The net-shaped pressure sensor matrix was attached to the surface of an egg, and pressure images were successfully obtained in this configuration. Then, a similar network of thermal sensors was developed with organic semiconductors. Next, the possible implementation of both pressure and thermal sensors on the surfaces is presented, and, by means of laminated sensor networks, the distributions of pressure and temperature are simultaneously obtained.

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