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  • PowerON showcases new product demonstrators at Robotics Festival in Leipzig

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  • PowerON’s TouchDetect Skin on Pneumatic Hand

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  • Carsten Schumann joins the team as CCO

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  • PowerON wins Dresden’s Connect Startup Award 2022

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  • PowerON at the Digital Hub pitch night in Dresden, Germany

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  • PowerON selected for Intel Ignite Batch#3

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  • Meet us at “Robot Valley Saxony” on May 10 in Dresden, Germany

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  • PowerON was featured as Success Story on “Zukunftsland Sachsen”

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  • PowerON appears in major German business newspaper “Handelsblatt”

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  • PowerON Group welcomes new staff and interns in first virtual “All Staff Forum”

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Vison and picture of future entirely soft robotic structures and potential applications

We believe soft, multifunctional structures will revolutionize the way we think about robots and their future uses. Soft, friendly, lifelike robots with a sense of touch can more naturally interact with users and their environment. PowerON’s proprietary technology opens up new products and applications, not only in robotics, but in automation, e-commerce, agritech, medical and more. We see a future where everyone makes use of intelligent robots and soft devices in daily life, at work and at home; where physicians, physiotherapists and nurses can train with life-like models of the human body;

where prosthetics don’t hurt after an entire day of wear and feel like natural limbs; where patients will be supported by biomimetic robots that are accepted as real helpers, not cold, unfriendly, machinery; and when it becomes a habit to communicate with your smart environment through gentle touch as well as voice and gestures, and your devices will give you similar feedback. Yes - that sounds like science fiction. But at PowerON we are working hard on the foundational technology to realize this soon. Talk to us if you share our vision and let us find out how we can collaborate.


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New Technology


Dielectric elastomers can be used as soft actuators, so-called artificial muscles. They generate large strains and are mechanically compliant. They are driven by electrical charge and can power manifold applications.


Dielectric elastomers can be used as soft sensors for strain pressure and touch. We build soft and flexible skins that can be applied to robots, in order to give them a send of touch and human like finger tips, feeling and identifying objects.


Dielectric elastomers can directly switch voltage on and off by mechanical deformation. These compliant switches can undergo large deformations and can trigger both low and high voltage up to several kV. Arrays of these switches can be used as tactile skin of soft robotic applications. The video shows an early demonstrator, where the input voltage is triggered by two DE-switches.

Signal processing

Dielectric elastomers can directly be used to process signals in soft structures. A sophisticated combination of soft DE actuators and DE switches can resemble all digital functions an enable complex circuits that are able to directly drive soft robotic applications.

Energy harvesting

Dielectric elastomers can be used to harvest energy. The compliant structures can transform mechanical work into electrical charge. An application of the DE switches enables the development of entirely soft generators without the need of semiconductor electronics.


Dielectric elastomers do not rely on stiff semiconductor electronics. They entirely consist of different carbon molecules and soft polymers. This enables the design and production of unlimited geometries with integrated multifunctionality.

Demonstrator Kits & Products

Tactile arrays and soft interfaces

PowerON’s soft tactile arrays use our patented elastomer switches. Soft and stretchable, our arrays give adaptive robotic grippers the sense of touch for lifelike interactions. Large area skins upgrade entire robots with tactile sense for natural interactions with human co-workers.

The widespread integration of robotic assistance systems, in industry, household or the service sector, fails today because conventional robotic systems can neither quickly adapt to changing processes, individual and flexible production, nor safely collaborate with humans. Safe interaction is difficult to achieve with conventional technology. TouchDetect is an easy-to-use tactile array for robotic finger tips that gives robotic grippers the ability to feel touch, adjust their gripping force accordingly and identify objects, their position and slipping of those. It comes either with USB, industry standard CAN-bus or Bluetooth connectivity and is fully integrated.

Electro adhesive pads

Surfaces subjected to an electric field stick together. Our soft, stretchable electro-adhesive pads mean your device can grip and release various objects with less force and without tool changing.

Combining electro-adhesion with PowerON’s tactile arrays gives automated picking of sensitive and brittle objects without needing complex signal processing or vision systems. We offer the complete solution and look forward to learning about your requirements.

Digital electronics for soft robotics

Dielectric elastomers can be used to conduct digital signal processing for high voltages and directly drive soft robotic components.

Special combinations of actuators and compliant high voltage switches can be used to process and generate high voltage signals. Starting from simple digital inverters, we assemble all fundamental Boolean gates, flip-flops and oscillators.


As you start to explore the amazing possibilities of Dielectric Elastomers in your product line, soon you will need high voltage signals for your device test & development programme.

We have this covered with our High Voltage Signal Generator (HVSG). HVSG is a portable 4-channel signal generator for 0 to 4kV with variable output waveforms - DC, rectangular, triangle / ramp and sinusoidal. Each channel provides an independent, variable output to 4kV and 0.5 mA, controlled from a 7’’ touch screen. With HVSG you can quickly decide the performances your product’s interface electronics requires. We're accepting orders for HVSG now - so contact us. Talk to us for elastomer interface electronics design.


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Our Story

We are PowerON, offering smart soft sensor and actuator solutions for robotics and interfacing technologies. PowerON was founded in 2019 in Auckland, New Zealand, with a branch in Dresden, Germany. We have many years experience with smart, soft materials, biomimetics and soft robotics. Our early days date back to 2015 when our now CEO, Markus Henke, our CTO, Katie Wilson, our COO, Ross Green, and our Chief Scientist, Iain Anderson, came together at the Biomimetics Lab at the Auckland Bioengineering Institute to develop soft electronics for soft robotics. In 2017, Markus joined the Institute for Semiconductors and Microsystems at the TU Dresden and started developing soft tactile arrays for robotic applications. In 2019, PowerON obtained some venture investment support, and received an EXIST Business Start-Up Grant; operations started in July. We have grown our team since offering our first products and development kits in 2020, and we will continue to introduce multifunctional dielectric elastomer components for robotic applications. PowerON operates in New Zealand and Germany, combining the New Zealand problem-solving creativity with Germany's unrivalled efficiency in engineering and production. Our team works hard every day to revolutionize robotics and to help to introduce robots as colleagues and friends in our everyday live.

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Katherine Elizabeth Wilson

Katherine Elizabeth Wilson

Katie is CTO of PowerON. She started her PhD in bioengineering in 2015 in Iain Anderson’s Biomimetics Lab at the ... more details
Iain Alexander Anderson

Iain Alexander Anderson

Iain is Chief Scientist of PowerON. He is a Professor in the Auckland Bioengineering Institute and head of the Biomimetics ... more details
Ross Martin Green

Ross Martin Green

Ross is COO of PowerON. He became aware of the potential of soft dielectric elastomers after meeting Iain in 2008 ... more details
Dr. Ernst-Friedrich Markus Henke

Dr. Ernst-Friedrich Markus Henke

Markus is CEO of PowerON and based in Germany. He studied biomimetics and dielectric elastomer technology as a Marie Curie ... more details

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