Share Email Print
cover

Proceedings Paper

Flexible dielectric elastomer actuators for wearable human-machine interfaces
Author(s): Christian Bolzmacher; James Biggs; Mandayam Srinivasan
Format Member Price Non-Member Price
PDF $14.40 $18.00

Paper Abstract

Wearable dielectric elastomer actuators have the potential to enable new technologies, such as tactile feedback gloves for virtual reality, and to improve existing devices, such as automatic blood pressure cuffs. They are potentially lighter, quieter, thinner, simpler, and cheaper than pneumatic and hydraulic systems now used to make compliant, actuated interfaces with the human body. Achieving good performance without using a rigid frame to prestrain the actuator is a fundamental challenge in using these actuators on body. To answer this challenge, a new type of fiber-prestrained composite actuator was developed. Equations that facilitate design of the actuator are presented, along with FE analysis, material tests, and experimental results from prototypes. Bending stiffness of the actuator material was found to be comparable to textiles used in clothing, confirming wearability. Two roll-to-roll machines are also presented that permit manufacture of this material in bulk as a modular, compact, prestressed composite that can be cut, stacked, and staggered, in order to build up actuators for a range of desired forces and displacements. The electromechanical properties of single- layered actuators manufactured by this method were measured (N=5). At non-damaging voltages, blocking force ranged from 3,7-5,0 gram per centimeter of actuator width, with linear strains of 20,0-30%. Driving the actuators to breakdown produced maximum force of 8,3-10 gram/cm, and actuation strain in excess 30%. Using this actuator, a prototype tactile display was constructed and demonstrated.

Paper Details

Date Published: 16 March 2006
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 6168, Smart Structures and Materials 2006: Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD), 616804 (16 March 2006); doi: 10.1117/12.677981
Show Author Affiliations
Christian Bolzmacher, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (United States)
James Biggs, Artificial Muscle, Inc. (United States)
Mandayam Srinivasan, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6168:
Smart Structures and Materials 2006: Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD)
Yoseph Bar-Cohen, Editor(s)

© SPIE. Terms of Use
Back to Top