Title: Liquid Crystal Soft Actuators and Robots toward Mixed Reality
Abstract: Liquid crystals (LCs) are soft but smart materials that can adjust its chemical or physical properties in response to various external stimuli. Using these materials to construct soft actuators and robots, referred as LC actuators and robots, is expected to replace current machinery part, obtaining lighter and smaller equipment with adjustable and complex functions. Especially, combining these LC actuator and robots with existing virtual reality and augmented reality technologies will produce a new world of mixed reality (MR) with the visual, auditory, and somatosensory interaction. In this review, the recent work on responsive LC actuators and robots is introduced, emphasizing on their potentials in haptic use. By discussing their programmable control via suitable stimuli, the LC actuators and robots are summarized for mechanical outputs, environmental mimic, and fine-tuning of surface texture and roughness. It is anticipated that the continuous development on LC actuators and robots will accelerate the MR technology toward practical application.