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Converging the capabilities of EAP artificial muscles and the requirements of bio-inspired robotics
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Paper Abstract

The characteristics of Electro-actuated polymers (EAP) are typically considered inadequate for applications in robotics. But in recent years, there has been both dramatic increases in EAP technological capbilities and reductions in power requirements for actuating bio-inspired robotics. As the two trends continue to converge, one may anticipate that dramatic breakthroughs in biologically inspired robotic actuation will result due to the marraige of these technologies. This talk will provide a snapshot of how EAP actuator scientists and roboticists may work together on a common platform to accelerate the growth of both technologies. To demonstrate this concept of a platform to accelerate this convergence, the authors will discuss their work in the niche application of robotic facial expression. In particular, expressive robots appear to be within the range of EAP actuation, thanks to their low force requirements. Several robots will be shown that demonstrate realistic expressions with dramatically decreased force requirements. Also, detailed descriptions will be given of the engineering innovations that have enabled these robotics advancements-most notably, Structured-Porosity Elastomer Materials (SPEMs). SPEM manufacturing techniques create delicate cell-structures in a variety of elastomers that maintain the high elongation characteristics of the mother material, but because of the porisity, behave as sponge-materials, thus lower the force required to emulate facial expressions to levels output by several extant EAP actuators.

Paper Details

Date Published: 27 July 2004
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 5385, Smart Structures and Materials 2004: Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD), (27 July 2004); doi: 10.1117/12.543095
Show Author Affiliations
David F. Hanson, Univ. of Texas/Dallas (United States)
Human Emulation Robotics, LLC (United States)
Victor White, Human Emulation Robotics, LLC (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5385:
Smart Structures and Materials 2004: Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD)
Yoseph Bar-Cohen, Editor(s)

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