With the focus on providing a sense of touch in robots, enabling feedback in virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) environment, telerobotics, remote sensing and improving user experience with touch sensitive devices like display kiosks and smartphones, haptic interfaces have become critical as they can convey information quickly. A human hand can feel different physical parameters such as roughness, softness and vibration and discern them as textures of the surface. Most of the technologies being employed for haptic feedback currently rely on simulating the perception of texture change, however few of the technologies like microfluidics and electroactive polymers (EAPs) can create actual topographical changes on the surface. Additionally, most of these haptic devices are opaque and they often serve as mere touchpads whilst the visual component of the simulation is projected elsewhere, so the user appears to interact with the simulated object indirectly. Dielectric elastomer actuators (DEAs), an EAP, is of peculiar interest owing to their characteristics like large actuation strains, facile fabrication, low costs of manufacturing and low power consumption. Herein, we demonstrate a large area, transparent tactile feedback device with 4 individually controlled active regions, that can be integrated onto electronic displays to provide unobstructed topographic texture change. We fabricate the device in a unique architecture, with the elastomeric layer, compliant electrodes, and the soft passive layer as all transparent materials. These devices show high transparency of over 70% in the visible region of the spectrum, and surface deformation of ~165 μm.
Ankit Ankit, Jun Yu Chan, Linh Lan Nguyen, Febby Krisnadi, and Nripan Mathews, "Large-area, flexible, integrable and transparent DEAs for haptics," Proc. SPIE 10966, Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) XXI, 109661W (Presented at SPIE Smart Structures + Nondestructive Evaluation: March 07, 2019; Published: 13 March 2019); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2514267.
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