Flexible Microsensor for Shape Detection

J. Beharic, T.M. Lucas, Y.M. Senousy, C.K. Harnett
University of Louisville, US

Keywords: flexible substrate, bistable, shape detection, MEMS fabrication


Modern techniques used in microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) sensor fabrication are adequate for use in most of today’s planar devices, which do not require flexibility to function. However, it’s difficult for a rigid structure to conform to curves and continually changing shapes that are commonplace in nature and biological applications.Shape-aware deformable surfaces will transform everyday textiles into input devices. When applied to other objects, these membranes could continuously monitor subtle changes in the shape of skin, organs, and other natural or manufactured objects, including those with hidden geometry. In this work, we focus on the design, placement, and operation of ultra-low power MEMS curvature sensing switches on flexible structures.Unlike a strain gauge, these devices do not require amplification and don’t require power to maintain their position. Therefore, power-consuming analog amplifier circuits and thick, heavy batteries could become unnecessary and lead to thin, lightweight sensors that do not modify the natural shape of the membrane.