Haptic actuator goes roll-to-roll

August 27, 2019 //By Peter Clarke
Haptic actuator goes roll-to-roll
Senseg Oy (Espoo, Finland) has launched a range of elastomeric film actuators (ELFIAC) that can be manufactured roll-to-roll.

The ELFIAC system has potential application in soft robotics, VR/AR devices, and interior integrated sensors, the company claims. It can also be used as the basis of a pressure sensor.

ELFIAC is a flexible actuator composed of insulated electrode films separated by silicone elastomer spacers, or pillars, that act like miniature springs. A high voltage, low current signal is driven to alternating electrodes while the remaining electrodes are kept at ground level. This causes the system to compress due to electrostatic attraction between electrodes on different film layers.

The actuation is a displacement of up to 20 percent of stack thickness and includes good low-frequency performance. Sensor size ranges from less than 1 square centimetre to very large and with thicknesses as low as 0.1mm. Operating voltage starts at a couple of hundred volts. The materials are flexible and can be roll-to-roll manufactured and put into any shape, flat or curved.

In addition, the materials are less expensive to produce than traditional piezo-electric actuators and use cheaper non-toxic materials, the company said.

The Senseg ELFIAC system is completed by the S220 high voltage driver chip, developed by Senseg with STMicroelectronics.

"With ELFIAC, Senseg is solving the problems of cost and materials usage in actuators, without degrading the experience," said Ramon Llamas, a research director at IDC, in a statement issued by Senseg. "This is a key component to the next wave of smart compute devices that are expected to perform rigorous functions while still delivering the types of experiences resident on other, more traditional, hardware."

Senseg was founded in 2006 and acquired by O-Film in February 2016.

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