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Proceedings Paper

Antagonistic dielectric elastomer actuator for biologically-inspired robotics
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Paper Abstract

For optimal performance, actuators designed for biologically-inspired robotics applications need to be capable of mimicking the key characteristics of natural musculoskeletal systems. These characteristics include a large output stroke, high energy density, antagonistic operation and passive compliance. The actuation properties of dielectric elastomer actuators (DEAs) make them viable for use as an artificial muscle technology. However, much like the musculoskeletal system, rigid structures are needed to couple the compliant DEA layers to a load. In this paper, a cone DEA design is developed as an antagonistic, multi-DOF actuator, viable for a variety for biologically-inspired robotics applications. The design has the advantage of maintaining pre-strain through a support structure without substantially lowering the overall mass-specific power density. Prototype cone DEAs have been fabricated with VHB 4910 acrylic elastomer and have characteristic dimensions of 49mm (strut length) and 60mm (DEA diameter). Multi-DOF kinematical outputs of the cone DEAs were measured using a custom 3D motion tracking system. Experimental tests of the prototypes demonstrate antagonistic linear (±10mm), rotational (±25°) and combined multi-DOF strokes. Overall, antagonistic cone DEAs are shown to produce a complex multi-DOF output from a mass-efficient support structure and thus are well suited for being exploited in biologically-inspired robotics.

Paper Details

Date Published: 28 March 2011
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 7976, Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2011, 79761Z (28 March 2011); doi: 10.1117/12.880438
Show Author Affiliations
Andrew T. Conn, Univ. of Bristol (United Kingdom)
Bristol Robotics Lab. (United Kingdom)
Jonathan Rossiter, Univ. of Bristol (United Kingdom)
Bristol Robotics Lab. (United Kingdom)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7976:
Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2011
Yoseph Bar-Cohen; Federico Carpi, Editor(s)

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