Senseg Introduces World’s First Flexible Actuators Manufactured with Roll-To-Roll Technology

September 17 2019, 01:10
Senseg, a leading manufacturer of electrostatic sensors based in Finland, announced that it has created a new category of flexible electronics by launching a family of roll-to-roll manufactured actuators for use in traditional flat actuator applications as well as for new applications, such as wearables, soft robotics, VR/AR devices, and interior integrated sensors. Called Senseg ELFIAC (for Elastomeric Film Actuator), the new product will deliver large-scale manufacturable actuators that are far less expensive to produce than comparable traditional actuators (such as piezos) and use cheaper, non-toxic materials. 

The inherent flexibility of the low-power ELFIAC technology, enables new applications with new form factors and geometries. Simultaneously, Senseg has introduced an advanced ultra-compact and low-power high-voltage driver circuit for ELFIAC. The circuit is powered by a proprietary system-in-package (SiP) S220 chip, which Senseg has jointly developed with ST Microelectronics. The ELFIAC and the S220-based high voltage driver are now available as user-friendly demo kits including software. 

The actuator market, currently pegged at $50 billion globally and expanding to $75 billion by 2025, according to MarketsandMarkets, includes consumer, automotive, healthcare, industrial automation, hydraulic, and other vertical market segments. As the ELFIAC technology can be manufactured in almost any size and shape – flat or curved – it can address many of these markets and is most cost-effective in applications larger than mobile devices.

“ELFIAC is a robust technology. Its flexible membrane-like structure enables taking haptics to where it was previously impossible,” says Ville Mäkinen, founder and General Manager of Senseg. “We have proven the mass manufacturability of ELFIAC and gone through rigorous product testing. We can see that ELFIAC’s potential expands far beyond our initial scope of consumer electronics products.”

Senseg is a pioneer in the electrostatic haptic field since 2008, and an innovator in multiple fields of human-machine interfaces, with more than 40 granted patents. Senseg developed the first solid state haptics solution, the TIXEL, for touch screen devices in 2011, enabling users to feel dynamic surface sensations such as moving a hand through grains of sand or dragging a weighty object on the screen of a tablet device.

“With ELFIAC, Senseg is solving the problems of cost and materials usage in actuators, without degrading the experience,” says Ramon T. Llamas, research director for IDC’s Mobile Devices and AR/VR team. “This is a key component to the next wave of smart compute devices that are expected to perform rigorous functions while still delivering the types of experiences resident on other, more traditional, hardware."

The Senseg breakthrough with ELFIAC lies in the combination of mastering newly developed roll-to-roll manufacturing technologies for the flexible electronics and in developing uniquely compact high voltage driver that is intended for low power and low current applications.

“The already extensive actuator market is set to increase and is looking for revolutionary solutions such as the ELFIAC by Senseg,“ adds Sachin Garg, associate vice president with MarketsandMarkets. 

The Senseg ELFIAC technology is flexible and bendable, and can be manufactured in any shape, flat or curved, featuring excellent low-frequency performance and high actuation displacement, offering up to 20% of stack thickness. The lead-free solution can perform pressure sensing in sizes from below 1 cm2 to very large surfaces, and with a thickness from 0.1 mm to very thick, with an operating voltage starting from a couple of hundred volts, with small currents. 
Senseg develops solutions in multiple fields of human-machine interfaces and is a leader in next-generation electrostatic haptic touchscreens that deliver tactile sensations to the  user's fingertips. Senseg was founded in 2006 and acquired by OFILM in February 2016, and is headquartered in Espoo, Finland.
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