HomeEducationGraduate and Undergraduate ProgramsResearch Experience for Undergraduates (REU)REU 2021 ProjectsDesign and Optimization of Magnetic Elastomers for Reconfigurable Haptic Displays

Design and Optimization of Magnetic Elastomers for Reconfigurable Haptic Displays

Professor: Amal El-Ghazaly

Project Description: In the last few decades, a lot of work has been done to advance technologies mainly regarding two senses: sight and hearing. But, what about touch? Not much has been done here, even if we include the recent boom in the use of touch screens (smartphones, tablets, etc.). There is a large margin for growth in this field with many more advancements to be made. Our research aims to create reconfigurable tactile displays that can provide realistic textures (such as buttons, keypads, braille, etc.) for human interaction with electronic displays. Specifically, in this project, we are focusing on the development and optimization of magnetic actuation in magnetorhelogical elastomers, which can serve as the soft, deforming “screen” of the tactile display. Magnetorheological elastomers are smart composite materials made of a very soft and stretchable elastomeric matrix and magnetic nanoparticles. When placed in a magnetic field, these materials significantly deform. We aim to develop a process that maximizes this deformation. The goal is to integrate this work into the creation of new haptic interfaces, for example, deformable touch screens, able to be programmed to recreate any shape. This effort will require work in several areas, including device fabrication along with process optimization (using statistical design of experiments), device characterization (mainly magnetic and optical), and simulation through finite element programs to identify optimal designs. (This project is offered as Hybrid)

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