186. PNEUMATICALLY INFLATED DIELECTRIC ELASTOMERS FOR ACTUATION, SENSING, AND ENERGY HARVESTING
Name: Caleb Michael Christianson
Grad Year: 2018
Dielectric elastomer actuators (DEAs) are promising actuators for soft robotics. Many soft robotic platforms rely upon pneumatic actuation, which faces the challenges of slow actuation rates and high system overhead in pumps, valves, and tubing. As a result of the significant weight of the required pumps and power supplies, the realization of untethered pneumatic soft robots is an ongoing challenge. This research aims to address this challenge by augmenting pneumatic soft robotics with DEAs. Two significant advantages of DEAs are rapid actuation and electrical addressability, enabling fine control over soft robots. Further, these devices can operate at fixed pressures, obviating the need for cumbersome pumps and related components. Finally, dielectric elastomers also possess intrinsic self-sensing and energy harvesting capabilities, thus opening the door to complex robotic platforms.
Industry Application Area(s)
Aerospace, Defense, Security | Electronics/Photonics | Materials