"Soft" Robotics

With the help of both smart and soft sensor and actuator solutions from PowerON Dresden, robots are to become increasingly similar to humans. The technology is based on a special polymer that deforms when an electric current flows.

Soft Robotics from PowerON Dresden (Source: PowerON)

“Our objective is to fundamentally change robotics as we know it”, explains Dr. Markus Henke, CEO of the Dresden-based startup PowerON. With the help of both smart and soft sensor and actuator solutions, robots are to become more and more similar to humans. The underlying idea was created at the Auckland Bioengineering Institute in New Zealand. Here, Dr. Henke conducted research together with Dr. Katie Wilson, today’s PowerON CTO, on soft, flexible electronics for bionic robots.

Technology made by PowerON is based on a special polymer which changes its shape whenever electric current flows. This polymer possesses mechanical properties which are similar to those of human muscles. Since the electrical properties change during the deformation process, it can also be used in sensor technology. The young enterprise has already attained some commercial success in this sector. One of these achievements, for example, was to equip robotic grippers with “fingertips” that feel – the first building block in PowerON’s vision of fundamentally revolutionizing robotics.

PowerON Dresden