Complex-structured 3D printed Electronic Skin for artificial tactile sensing

  • Emily Bezerra Alexandre

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Artificial tactile recognition systems can provide valuable information about the surroundings and would enable artificial systems like prostheses and robotics to protect themselves against damage. However, making the desired geometry of sensing elements in flexible and stretchable sensors is a problem to be addressed. To overcome these hurdles, 3D printing technology can introduce advantages such as ease of design and rapid prototyping of complex geometries for soft sensors. Here, we report a conductive, biocompatible and antimicrobial 3D printed electronic skin (e-skin) based on a combination of platinum-cured silicone inks alongside carbon nanofibers (CNF). We adapted and standardized 3D printing parameters to obtain consistent CNF-based structural patterns and geometries. We explored the influence of printing angles and infill density on the mechanical properties of the printed structure, and utilized them to build complex resistive sensors with conductivity values of up to 120 S m-1, stretchability of up to 1000%, and 1200% increased pressure sensitivity in comparison to bulk sensors. We investigated the biocompatibility and antibacterial action of our material, and developed relieved pigmented e-skin sensor parts that can be integrated into robotic limbs to measure touch and a wide range of human motions demonstrating its promising integration in smart robotic sensing.
Date of AwardJun 2022
Original languageEnglish (US)
Awarding Institution
  • Physical Sciences and Engineering
SupervisorDerya Baran (Supervisor)


  • Electronic skin
  • 3D printing
  • touch sensor

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