Improve the Optical Properties and Accuracy of an Additive Manufactured Object

Technology #11373

Key Points

  • Methods of optimizing and printing optical waveguides on a voxel-by-voxel level
  • Improves the properties and accuracy of an additive manufactured object
  • Waveguides act similarly to fiber optics and optical waveguides made conventionally


The University of Central Florida invention describes transparent, colored, single and multiple element waveguides that can be 3D-printed to produce optical throughput in rigid and flexible materials to sense tactile applications. Touch, presence, proximity, location and pressure may be detected. The waveguides act similarly to fiber optics and optical waveguides made conventionally. The design is a transparent medium surrounded by a sheath of material of a different refractive index. The change in refractive index causes total internal reflection and causes the light that enters one end to travel the length of the waveguide and exit the opposite end. The path can be through a straight or curved path in two or three dimensions. The printed waveguides and medium can be flexible to allow the sensor to be fitted to or contoured to a body or fixture.