Shape displays that actively manipulate surface geometry are an expanding robotics domain with applications to haptics, manufacturing, aerodynamics, and more. However, existing displays often lack high-fidelity shape morphing, high-speed deformation, and embedded state sensing, limiting their potential uses. Here, we demonstrate a multifunctional soft-shape display driven by a 10 × 10 array of scalable cellular units which combine high-speed electrohydraulic soft actuation, magnetic-based sensing, and control circuitry. We report high-performance reversible shape morphing up to 50 Hz, sensing of surface deformations with 0.1 mm sensitivity, and external forces with 50 mN sensitivity in each cell, which we demonstrate across a multitude of applications including user interaction, image display, sensing of object mass, and dynamic manipulation of solids and liquids. This work showcases the rich multifunctionality and high-performance capabilities that arise from tightly-integrating large numbers of electrohydraulic actuators, soft sensors, and controllers at a previously undemonstrated scale in soft robotics.
B. K. Johnson, M. Naris, V. Sundaram, A. Volchko, K. Ly, S. K. Mitchell, E. Acome, N. Kellaris, C. Keplinger, N. Correll, J. S. Humbert & M. E. Rentschler. A multifunctional soft robotic shape display with high-speed actuation, sensing, and control. Nature Communications volume 14, Article number: 4516 (2023)