Soft sensors for a sensing-actuation system with high bladder voiding efficiency

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science Advances  01 May 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 18, eaba0412
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aba0412


Sensing-actuation systems can assist a bladder with lost sensation and weak muscle control. Here, we advance the relevant technology by integrating a soft and thin capacitive sensor with a shape memory alloy–based actuator to achieve a high-performance closed-loop configuration. In our design, sensors capable of continuous bladder volume detection and actuators with strong emptying force have been used. This integration has previously hindered performance due to large bladder volume changes. Our solution integrates sensing-actuation elements that are bladder compatible but do not interfere with one another, achieving real-time bladder management. The system attains a highly desirable voiding target of 71 to 100% of a rat’s bladder with a volume sensitivity of 0.7 μF/liter. Our system represents an efficient voiding solution that avoids overfilling and represents a technological solution to bladder impairment treatment, serving as a model for similar soft sensor-actuator integration with other organs.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.

View Full Text

Stay Connected to Science Advances