Textile Silicone Hybrid Sensor Fabrication Guide


Important Considerations:

Difficulty: Advanced  
Min. Age: Age 10  
Time:  2 Hours  
Est. Cost per 20 Students: $23  
Component Category: Sensor  
Essential Learning: Mold Making & Casting  
Safety Equipment:  Lab Gloves, Aprons  


The Textile Silicone Hybrid Sensor Fabrication Guide is an advanced level instructional guide for the introduction of soft sensing components into soft robotics curriculum and activities. This capacitive sensor introduces the potential for soft robots and their components to interact safely with the body and interface with other wearable electronics applications. The sensor reinforces the principals of soft robotics through building molds with everyday material and troubleshooting an electronic system. Once finished, the sensor can be stretched and twisted yet still produce a measurable change in capacitance. 

Supporting Documents:

This page provides the Textile Silicone Hybrid Sensor Fabrication Guide, a template for building the mold and a bill of materials for all of the necessary equipment and supplies. These can all be downloaded using the "DOWNLOAD" button to the left.

Overview of Materials:

  • Cardboard
  • Conductive knit fabric
  • Double sided tape
  • Scissors
  • X-Acto Knife


  • Students should begin this activity with a basic knowledge of soft robotics and an understanding of relevant vocabulary (i.e. actuators, sensors, controls).
  • Prior to the activity students should also explore the basics of sensors, their use in electronic systems and the basics of their construction. 

Essential Learning Objectives:

Students will learn to construct a mold for the sensor using cardboard and tape. Then, through hands-on construction of the two part casting process, students will learn about the layers of this sensor, the properties of each material and about the characteristics that allows the sensor to provide an input in an electronic system. Lastly, students will evaluate how the sensor performs when capacitance is measured. 

Construct Mold Assemble Electronic Components Evaluate Final Result


Overview of Steps:

The following is an overview of the steps associated with the guide. For more details regarding each step and for a copy of the documents this overview references please download the fabrication guide using the 'DOWNLOAD' button above. 

step_7_02.png The paper template (for the cardboard) is cut out, pasted onto cardboard and laminated with tape. The cardboard template is then cut out with an X-Acto knife. The two layers are then assembled together with double-sided tape.
step_9.png One the mold is assembled, the elastomer mixture is poured into the shallow mold. This is the dielectric layer of the sensor. It must be poured evenly and allowed to settle into all corners of the mold. The thin mold is filled with Eco-Flex 30 elastomer and cured completely. 
step_14_02.png Once the previous layer is completely cured, the card stock frame of the mold is peeled away from the cardboard, leaving the sensor behind. To adhere the next layer, more elastomer is used to glue the fabric electrodes to the cured layer.
step_15_01.png Using a very thin spread of Eco-Flex 30 as adhesive, the fabric templates are placed on either side of the sensor. In between layers peel the sensor gently from the cardboard to flip and apply the same treatment to the other side. Again, the mold is cured completely. 
final_image_.png Once cured the sensor is de-molded by carefully pulling it off of the cardboard and an LCR meter can be attached with wire clips to evaluate performance. 

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