Stability of gallium-based liquid metal (ongoing)

Galinstan and other gallium alloys that are liquid at room temperature are used in a wide range of soft robot and soft sensor devices, typically at low currents and power dissipations. To achieve high-current liquid metal devices (e.g., electromagnetic devices), we must understand the ability of these metals to tolerate large currents.

Liquid metal wires with gaps, showing failure

Failed galinstan wires after prolonged current exposure


Tuning properties using the Miura pattern (ongoing)

Origami patterns like the Miura (below) have a wide range of mechanical behaviors depending on the fold angles of the pattern. This project investigates whether similar behavior arises in soft materials like silicone elastomers, and whether these properties can be used to prescribe the response of soft material sensors.


An Origami-Patterned, Flexible Pressure Sensor Fabricated with Vacuum Forming Kris Dorsey, Mariel Jones, Huiying Huang and Alysha de Silva, MRS Fall Meeting 2019

Photograph of a 3D printed mold for Miura patterning CAD drawing of Miura pattern



Modifying soft sensor properties through morphology

Planar resistors and capacitors made from soft insulators like silicone elastomer and conformal conductors like liquid metals are can withstand large strain and deformation without damage. Precisely defining their sensing properties (sensitivity, range, etc.) is an ongoing challenge. This project investigated the change in these properties that was possible by increasing (fusible metal) or decreasing (voids) the stiffness around the sensor. 


K.L. Dorsey, “Reconfigurable Soft Capacitor with Variable Stiffness Ring,” IEEE Robosoft Conference, Seoul, South Korea, 2019.

K.L. Dorsey, M. Cao, G.A. Slipher, and N. Lazarus, “Mechanical Isolation and Temperature Compensation in Soft Elastomer Components,” in IEEE J. Sensors, vol. 18, no. 18, pp. 7505-7512, 15 Sept., 2018.

K.L. Dorsey, M. Cao, and N. Lazarus, “Mechanical Isolation Structures for Soft Elastomer Components,” IEEE Sensors Conf., Glasgow, UK, 2017.

A hyper-elastic capacitor with substrate voids 

A hyper-elastic capacitor with substrate voids

Capacitor (top) with transition from rigid to compliant state when heated

RoboSoft 2019 teaser video


Updated September 2020