LMTS: Soft Transducers Lab (Prof. H. Shea)

images of LMTS soft actuators

Introduction to the LMTS

We develop reliable soft stretchable compliant actuators, sensors and transducers. Our research cuts across different miniaturized actuator technologies, with a primary focus on elastomer-based solutions and multi-functional stretchable materials. We are part of the EPFL Institute of Mechanical Engineering.

Our core research areas are:

  • Miniaturized polymer actuators and soft transducers for a broad range of applications including soft robotics, dextrous manipulation, microfluidics and tunable optics. 
  • Wearable Haptic displays for VR/AR applications and for visually impaired users, allowing dynamic graphical information such as maps or virtual 3D shapes to be explored using one’s sense of touch.
  • MEMS and Printed Microsystems. (Dr. D. Briand, MER) Environmentally-friendly and sustainable MEMS processes and materials. Flexible, printed electronics and microsystems. Digital and additive manufacturing.


9-2022. With Prof Anne Skov (DTU) and Prof Neel Joshi (Northeastern), we are honored to have received a 7 milion euro award from the Novo Nordisk Foundation to develop soft exoskeletons using novel materials for artificial muscles.

8-2022. Bekir and Yufei’s soft force sensors published in Nature Communications
our latest wearable clutch enables variable friction, so that a virtual brick feels hard, and a virtual sponge feels squishy
6-2021. OmniGrasp wins the EuroEAP Society Industry challenge! congrats to Vito & Valentin!

5-2021 Our Test bench for automated lifetime studies of DEAs published in Smart Materials and Structures

11-2021: Using the DEA test bench to study the effect of T, %RH, applied electric field, etc on the lifetime of DEAs Smart Materials and Structures

10-2020 Untethered Feel-through haptics based on 18µm thick DEAs published in Advanced Functional Materials.
printed pump, all soft materials 9-2020 Inkjet Printing of Complex Soft Machines in Advanced Intelligent Systems
7-2020. HAXELs are soft and powerful haptic actuators published in Advanced Materials
5-2020. Reconfigurable morphing surface using DEA + SMP appears in Advanced Functional Materials.
1-2020. High force textile electrostatic clutch published in Advanced Materials Technologies.
12-2019: Science Robotics article published on our soft robotic insect. some movies! EPFL press release
11-2019 new movies for our soft gripper
10-2019 Nature Communications Article on a highly sensitive InfraRed detector based on Shape Memory Polymers (with prof. G. Villanueva)
8- 2019 We  developed a thin stretchable pump, that can be twisted, bent, stretched, while pushing liquid along the channel. Gram for gram, our pump performs as well as an aquarium pump or a workshop compressor, but is completely silent, and has no moving parts. published in the journal Nature in August 2019. Details and movies here.

Contact info:

Mailing address:

rue de la Maladière 71b, CP 526
CH-2002 Neuchâtel, Switzerland

Head of Lab: Prof. Herbert Shea, Phone +41 21 693 6663

Secretary: Mrs Myriam Poliero Phone: +41 21 695 4436

How to find us: Our lab is part of the Neuchatel campus of the EPFL-IMT. 15 minute walk from the Neuchatel train station.