Stretchable Sensors with Tunability and Single Stimuli-Responsiveness through Resistivity Switching Under Compressive Stress

The fascinating human somatosensory system with its complex structure is composed of numerous sensory receptors possessing distinct responsiveness to stimuli. It is a continuous source of inspiration for tactile sensors that mimic its functions. However, to achieve single stimulus-responsiveness with mechanical decoupling is particularly challenging in the light of structural design and has not been fully addressed to date. Here we propose a novel structural design inspired by combining the characteristics of electronic skin (e-skin) and electronic textile (e-textile) into a hybrid interface to achieve a stretchable single stimuli-responsive tactile sensor. The stencil printable biocarbon composite/silver-plated nylon hybrid interface possesses an extraordinary resistance switching (ΔR/R0 up to ∼104) under compressive stress which is controllable by the composite film-thickness. It achieves a very high normal pressure sensitivity (up to 60.8 kPa–1) in a wide dynamic range (up to ∼50 kPa) in the piezoresistive operation mode and can effectively decouple stresses induced by stretching or bending. In addition, the device is capable of high accuracy strain sensing in its capacitive operation mode through dimensional change dominant response. Because of these intriguing features, it has potential for the next-generation Internet of Things devices and user-interactive systems capable of providing visual feedback and more advanced robotics or even prosthetics.