Imaging and measurement of friction forces are required in a variety of fields. If the friction forces originating from the motions of professionals are quantitatively analyzed, the data can be applied to a motion-copying system by a robot. However, weak friction forces have not been visualized and quantified using conventional sensing materials and devices because of their low sensitivity. Here we present a highly sensitive friction-imaging device based on the cascading responses of stimuli-responsive materials, namely polydiacetylene (PDA) and dry liquid (DL). Weak friction forces disrupt the DL, which is composed of liquid droplets surrounded by solid particles. The outflowing liquid under chemical stress changes the color of PDA. The cascading responses enable colorimetric imaging and measurement of weak friction forces in the range of 0.006-0.080 N. Furthermore, the device visualizes the force distribution of handwriting in calligraphy depending on the individual characteristics of an expert, a practician, and a beginner. A high-sensitivity friction-imaging device can be used to understand various motions.
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