Tactile device based on opto-mechanical actuation of liquid crystal elastomers

N. Torras, K. E. Zinoviev, C. J. Camargo, Eva M. Campo, H. Campanella, J. Esteve, J. E. Marshall, E. M. Terentjev, M. Omastová, I. Krupa, P. Teplický, B. Mamojka, P. Bruns, B. Roeder, M. Vallribera, R. Malet, S. Zuffanelli, V. Soler, J. Roig, N. WalkerD. Wenn, F. Vossen, F. M.H. Crompvoets

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69 Citations (Scopus)


Nematic elastomers are promising materials for the fabrication of actuators due to their ability to reversibly contract and expand during phase transitions triggered by external stimuli. Thus, actuation can be produced on demand, forcing these phase changes. Here, we present a refreshable tactile device based on the opto-mechanical properties of liquid crystalline elastomers (LCE) with the capability to represent Braille characters and simplified graphical information. The actuators designed are based on the use of the stress gradient generated in the elastomer under illumination to exert a force on movable components. Additionally, hardware implementation and a communication software interface were developed to provide end users with a complete solution. Displacements of 0.8 mm with measured forces of up to 40 mN were reached without material degradation, proving not only the viability of the device but also the potential applications of this type of actuator. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)104-112
JournalSensors and Actuators, A: Physical
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2014


  • Liquid crystal elastomer
  • Opto-mechanical actuator
  • Tactile display
  • Visually impaired


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