Design and manufacture of a 3-D smart skin for non-developable geometries

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A smart skin is a sensing component comprising a network of sensors distributed at specific locations inside a soft polymer skin; this component can be integrated with a structure or part, allowing it to make control decisions. Such skins have compelling applications in the robotics field, potentially enabling dexterous manipulation and facilitating human-robot interactions as in the field of nursing assistant robotics. In this thesis, an investigation was performed to design and fabricate a multifunctional, thin, 3-D polymer skin that is doubly-curved with an embedded distributed sensor network. Piezoelectric sensors and RTD sensors were integrated with the network to functionalize the skin to be able to sense contact and temperature at different locations on the skin. This thesis addresses the above problem by synthesizing two key technologies. Specifically, a stretchable "net" of sensors is used to cover a target part conformally, and this sensor network is covered using a conformal dip coating process to form the complete skin. To apply the key technologies above, several tasks are required, all of which are detailed in this thesis. The network must first be designed using a simulation-based particle swarm optimization algorithm to ensure that it effectively covers the target part. Once manufactured, the network is expanded from its manufacturing footprint and deployed over the surface of the object using a specially developed "stretch tool." After deployment, the network must be encapsulated within a physical skin. Multiple materials are surveyed for suitability in this effort, and a process for encapsulating the network is engineered. After the completion of the skin article, tests are conducted to validate the functionality of the sensors using a data acquisition unit The resulting skin article covers a finger-like demonstrator form, and is capable of sensing temperature differences across its surface, as well as sensing the presence or absence of contact.


Type of resource text
Form electronic resource; remote; computer; online resource
Extent 1 online resource.
Place California
Place [Stanford, California]
Publisher [Stanford University]
Copyright date 2022; ©2022
Publication date 2022; 2022
Issuance monographic
Language English


Author Ransom, Elliot Harris
Degree supervisor Chang, Fu-Kuo
Thesis advisor Chang, Fu-Kuo
Thesis advisor Senesky, Debbie
Thesis advisor Springer, George S
Degree committee member Senesky, Debbie
Degree committee member Springer, George S
Associated with Stanford University, Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics


Genre Theses
Genre Text

Bibliographic information

Statement of responsibility Elliot Harris Ransom.
Note Submitted to the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
Thesis Thesis Ph.D. Stanford University 2022.

Access conditions

© 2022 by Elliot Harris Ransom
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 Unported license (CC BY-NC).

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