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Proceedings Paper

A power-autonomous self-rolling wheel using ionic and capacitive actuators
Author(s): Indrek Must; Toomas Kaasik; Inna Baranova; Urmas Johanson; Andres Punning; Alvo Aabloo
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Paper Abstract

Ionic electroactive polymer (IEAP) laminates are often considered as perspective actuator technology for mobile robotic appliances; however, only a few real proof-of-concept-stage robots have been built previously, a majority of which are dependent on an off-board power supply. In this work, a power-autonomous robot, propelled by four IEAP actuators having carbonaceous electrodes, is constructed. The robot consists of a light outer section in the form of a hollow cylinder, and a heavy inner section, referred to as the rim and the hub, respectively. The hub is connected to the rim using IEAP actuators, which form ‘spokes’ of variable length. The effective length of the spokes is changed via charging and discharging of the capacitive IEAP actuators and a change in the effective lengths of the spokes eventuate in a rolling motion of the robot. The constructed IEAP robot takes advantage of the distinctive properties of the IEAP actuators. The IEAP actuators transform the geometry of the whole robot, while being soft and compliant. The low-voltage IEAP actuators in the robot are powered directly from an embedded single-cell lithium-ion battery, with no voltage regulation required; instead, only the input current is regulated. The charging of the actuators is commuted correspondingly to the robot’s transitory position using an on-board control electronics. The constructed robot is able to roll for an extended period on a smooth surface. The locomotion of the IEAP robot is analyzed using video recognition.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 April 2015
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 9430, Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2015, 94300Q (1 April 2015); doi: 10.1117/12.2084252
Show Author Affiliations
Indrek Must, Univ. of Tartu (Estonia)
Toomas Kaasik, Univ. of Tartu (Estonia)
Inna Baranova, Univ. of Tartu (Estonia)
Urmas Johanson, Univ. of Tartu (Estonia)
Andres Punning, Univ. of Tartu (Estonia)
Alvo Aabloo, Univ. of Tartu (Estonia)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9430:
Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2015
Yoseph Bar-Cohen, Editor(s)

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