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Flexible force‐bearing liquid crystalline elastomer component toward a dynamic braille platform

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Gablier, Alexandra 
Terentjev, Eugene M 


jats:titleAbstract</jats:title>jats:pLiquid Crystalline Elastomers (LCEs) are elastomeric actuators capable of reversible shape change under external stimulation such as heat or light. This ability makes them prime candidates for use in the field of soft robotics, with examples of explored applications ranging from heart patches to active yarn. Here, we apply LCE actuation to the field of dynamic Braille displays, with the small Braille pins capable of being either flat or protruding on demand. We demonstrate that the complex and numerous moving parts of a dynamic Braille device could be replaced by a single sheet of LCEs embossed with small actuating bumps. A simple molding procedure produces a surface patterned with at‐scale Braille bumps, as a result of a precise and complex internal organization within the elastomer sample that emerges during polymerization. Unlike in previous attempts to use LCEs for Braille technology, our millimeter‐scale protruding features are generated out of the bulk of the material, resulting in structural integrity, and high resistance to compression force. The localized bump‐to‐flat reversible actuation occurs on a timescale of seconds. The potential of this development for application into a complete Braille dynamic display are discussed.</jats:p>



40 Engineering, 3403 Macromolecular and Materials Chemistry, 4016 Materials Engineering, 34 Chemical Sciences

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European Research Council (786659)