Carsten Schumann


Tactile sensation for industrial robotic applications

PowerON's Smart Elastic technology is disruptive through and through. PowerON uses unique dielectric elastomer technology to produce customisable, soft and flexible switches, actuators and logic that will enable the next generation of bioinspired robotics. Around us sophisticated devices abound – and almost all are complex assemblies of rigid parts. The biological world, resulting from billions of years of evolution, is markedly different, being comprised of soft, flexible, structures, often around a rigid core. Dielectric Elastomers (DEs) begin to bridge the gap between engineered and biological domains. DEs change dimensions when voltage is applied, leading to the term “artificial muscles”. This offers the tantalizing prospect of substituting complex, heavy, electromagnetic equipment with single-component DE devices. All PowerON’s core components, and associated manufacturing processes, are through proof-of-concept and will soon be sampled to qualified customers. Manufacturing draws on commercial methods for contact and material printing. PowerON’s core components are saleable individually, offering competitive advantages – especially size, weight and resistance to tough environmental conditions – compared to standard electromechanical and semiconductor devices. Early sales are being targeted for profitable revenues and market feedback on preferred configurations and ratings.
It ranges from tactile sensing that teaches robots to feel, to compliant skins that allow safe and intuitive human-robot interaction, to artificial muscles and bionic reflexes. All this will help develop bio-inspired, bionic systems that will help automate millions of manual processes, solve acute problems and thus ensure our prosperity. PowerON will gradually bring more and more products to market along the way that will permanently change and revolutionise robotics as we know it today. PowerON's technology will free robots from their cages and help ensure that not only industry but also the masses can use such assistance systems in everyday life. And this both for work in the household and for support in caring for relatives. The technology used by PowerON is patent-protected and the only one known to enable fully soft and flexible electronics with integrated signal processing for robotics, user interfaces, agricultural technology, medical technology and more. The products developed are printable and therefore quickly scalable, highly cost-effective and can be easily adapted to specific customer needs. With the processes used, it is not only possible to print fully flexible sensor skins, but also, in perspective, artificial muscles to develop interactive, bionic robots that support all people in their everyday lives. This is not possible with any other known technology. PowerON employs well-known experts in this field and, in addition to a broad patent portfolio, also has extensive know-how that ensures technology leadership for years to come. This makes PowerON the only company capable of taking robots to the next level.

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