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Synthetic Muscle electroactive polymer (EAP) based actuation and sensing for prosthetic and robotic applications
Author(s): Lenore Rasmussen; Simone Rodriguez; Matthew Bowers; Gabrielle Franzini; Charles A. Gentile; George Ascione; Robert Hitchner; James Taylor; Dan Hoffman; Leon Moy; Patrick S. Mark; Daniel L. Prillaman; Robert Nodarse; Michael J. Menegus; Ryan Carpenter; Darold Martin; Matthew Maltese; Thomas Seacrist; Cosme Furlong; Payam Razavi; Greig Martino
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Paper Abstract

Ras Labs Synthetic MuscleTM – a class of electroactive polymers (EAPs) that contract and expand at low voltages – mimic the unique gentle-yet-strong nature of human tissue. These EAPs also attenuate force and sense mechanical pressure, from gentle touch to high impact. This is a potential asset to prosthetics and robotics, including manned space travel through protective gear and human assist robotics and for unmanned space exploration through deep space. Fifth generation Synthetic MuscleTM is very robust and attenuates impact force through non-Newtonian mechanisms. Various electrolyte solutions and conductive additives were also explored to optimize these EAPs. In prosthetics, the interface between the residual limb and the hard socket of the prosthetic device is a pain point. EAP pads that gently contract and expand within the prosthetic socket using 1.5 V batteries will allow for extremely comfortable, adjustable, perfect fit throughout the day for amputees. For robot grippers, EAP linkages can be actuated and EAP sensors placed at the fingertips of the grippers for tactile feedback. Onset of actuation of these EAPs at the nano-level was determined to be within 48 milliseconds, with macro-scale actuation visible to the naked eye within seconds. Smart EAP based materials and actuators promise to transform prostheses and robots, allowing for the treatment, reduction, and prevention of debilitating injury and fatalities, and to further our exploration by land, sea, air, and space.

Paper Details

Date Published: 27 March 2018
PDF: 7 pages
Proc. SPIE 10594, Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) XX, 105942C (27 March 2018); doi: 10.1117/12.2297660
Show Author Affiliations
Lenore Rasmussen, Ras Labs., LLC (United States)
Simone Rodriguez, Ras Labs., LLC (United States)
Matthew Bowers, Ras Labs., LLC (United States)
Gabrielle Franzini, Ras Labs., LLC (United States)
Charles A. Gentile, Princeton Univ. (United States)
George Ascione, Princeton Univ. (United States)
Robert Hitchner, Princeton Univ. (United States)
James Taylor, Princeton Univ. (United States)
Dan Hoffman, Princeton Univ. (United States)
Leon Moy, U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Ctr. RDECOM (United States)
Patrick S. Mark, U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Ctr. RDECOM (United States)
Daniel L. Prillaman, U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Ctr. RDECOM (United States)
Robert Nodarse, U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Ctr. RDECOM (United States)
Michael J. Menegus, U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Ctr. RDECOM (United States)
Ryan Carpenter, U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Ctr. RDECOM (United States)
Darold Martin, U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Ctr. RDECOM (United States)
Matthew Maltese, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (United States)
Thomas Seacrist, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (United States)
Cosme Furlong, Worcester Polytechnic Institute (United States)
Payam Razavi, Worcester Polytechnic Institute (United States)
Greig Martino, United Prosthetic, Inc. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 10594:
Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) XX
Yoseph Bar-Cohen, Editor(s)

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