Session 1 Enabling Technologies I

Wednesday, 11.11.2020, 8:45-10:40 o'clock


08:45 - Intro: Conference & Day, Klaus-Dieter Thoben


Keynote by Prof. Dahiya: Soft Squishy Electronic Skin

9:00-9:40 o'clock

(Paper ID: K1)

The miniaturization led advances in microelectronics over 50 years have revolutionized our lives through fast computing and communication. Recent advances in the field are propelled by applications such as electronic skin in robotics, wearable systems, and healthcare technologies etc. Often these applications require electronics to be soft and Squishy so as to conform to 3D surfaces. These requirements call for new methods to realize sensors, actuators electronic devices and circuits on unconventional substrates such as plastics, papers and elastomers.

This lecture will present various approaches (over different time and dimension scales) followed for obtaining distributed electronic, sensing, actuation and computing devices on soft and flexible substrates, especially in context with the tactile or electronic skin (eSkin). These approaches range from distributed off-the-shelf electronics integrated on flexible printed circuit boards, to novel alternatives such as eSkin constituents obtained by printed nanowires, graphene and ultra-thin chips, etc.

The technology behind such sensitive flexible and squishy electronic systems is also the key enabler for numerous emerging fields such as internet of things, smart cities and mobile health etc. This lecture will also discuss how the flexible electronics research may unfold in the future.

Mona Bakr: Flexible microsystems using over-molding technology

9:40-10:00 o'clock

(Paper ID: 1107)

Today’s world is full of intelligent electronics and with the development of flexible printed electronics technologies, different integration approaches are of great demand. The combination of electronics with polymeric structures is a new technology platform as it integrates multiple functionalities into plastic products. This work shows preliminary results in the integration of electronic components (e.g. NFC chips and LEDs) using over-molding technology. Therefore, a significant degree of freedom in product design is obtained resulting low-cost fabrication of flexible smart objects.

The integration is achieved by means of adhesion between flexible circuits and injection molded plastics. In order to check the adhesion performance between the flexible circuit and polymer injected. The polyimide foils with patterned copper cladding were over-molded with different engineering plastics into the form of peel test specimens.

The technology was shown by the realization of a demonstrator, in which a number of LEDs are wirelessly powered using an NFC antenna and a chip. The NFC antenna is executed in the copper layer and the LEDs and NFC chip are soldered on the foil. The antenna and NFC chip can harvest the energy from (e.g. a smartphone) in order to power the LEDs. This is a simple example of wireless energy transfer that could be used to power circuits and readout sensor values using NFC without the need of having an integrated battery.

Paper PDF

Minerva G. Vargas Gleason: Towards self-healing biomimetic hair flow sensor

10:00-10:20 o'clock

(Paper ID: 1144)

Some of the most sensitive sensors seen in nature are flow sensors. These are often found in animals and consist of small hairs that bend when a flow is present and, due to the viscous drag, activate receptors on the base of the hair.

Flow sensors are commonly found in industrial applications. These are used in almost all processes where liquids or gases are required. In airplanes, drones and other aerial vehicles, these sensors detect air currents, providing information for navigation and for improving the flight control. Arrays of hair flow sensors could be used for measuring flow velocity and acceleration, haptic exploration and determining flow patterns.

Artificial hair flow sensors have already been developed, giving systems that require low power and have a high sensitivity. However, these cannot yet be commercially used due to the fragility of the structures. A sensor hair, usually between 40 µm and 100 µm thick, breaks easily during installation or operation, leaving the sensor unusable.

One approach to overcome this problem is developing a sensor that regrows the hair in case it breaks, just as a hair follicle does in mammals. We propose the first self-regenerating microsystem by designing a hair sensor with a growing and, if destroyed, re-growing hair. This flow sensor will grow a synthetic hair by extruding it through an orifice used as a growth channel. Receptors around the hair base will be able to detect bending forces that deflect the hair. In order to do so, two different systems are required, one that grows and regrows the hair, and one with sensing elements that are not attached directly to the hair, but detect its deflections.

In this paper, we present the sensing part of the proposed chip. The main tasks are to detect if the hair is broken and to determine the bending of the hair in order to calculate the speed and direction of the flow. The challenge here is to integrate sensors that keep working with each new hair. Four metallic strain gauges are embedded in a flexible substrate and placed around the hair base in such a way that even a small deflection of the hair produces a change of resistivity on at least one strain gauge. These will be placed as pairs, two measuring the deformation on the X-axis and two on the Y-axis. The flexible substrate is fabricated with a thin 5 µm polyimide (PI) layer as a base and a 2 µm PI layer as isolation on top of the strain gauges. The used PI is high temperature resistant and chemically stable. Here, we prove that the strain gauges in a flexible layer are able to detect the bending of an artificial hair in two directions, giving enough information to determine the direction and amplitude of the hair bending.

The presented system gives a novel approach for biomimetic sensor systems, providing a highly sensitive solution that can be used in environments where a normal hair sensor would break.

Paper PDF

Shenoy Panambur, Karthik: A Hybrid Approach for Digital Representation of Sensors in Real-Time Applications  

10:20-10:40 o'clock

(Paper ID: 1103)

We propose a hybrid approach for peripheral device emulation of sensors on hardware platforms as well as hardware virtualization platforms. The proposed approach stems from challenges faced in IoT (Internet of Things) application development, namely, hardware selection and evaluation, software development for the hardware under consideration, and reliable reproducibility of application tests. The hybrid approach provides strong support for all development phases of IoT products and system development in the absence of physical peripheral sensor hardware. We also present an event-driven software architecture for different components and a modular workflow for implementing the emulator. Within the approach, a peripheral device emulator is conceivable by using the event-driven software architecture and modular workflow. Finally, we introduce the term Simulatable Datasheet, which is realizable by configuring the emulator as per technical documentation like datasheets or application notes. The Simulatable Datasheet provides an interactive interface to improve decision-making during the product development phase. The Simulatable Datasheet thus relaxes the need for hardware availability and eases testing scenarios during IoT real and non-real-time application development without modification in the firmware. Additionally, these datasheets can reduce efforts for hardware and software integration and enable faster debugging, which in turn reduces the overall time to deploy IoT applications in various fields.

Paper PDF

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