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Proceedings Paper

Buckling dielectric elastomer actuators and their use as motors for the eyeballs of an android face
Author(s): F. Carpi; G. Fantoni; P. Guerrini; D. De Rossi
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Paper Abstract

A research project called FACE (Facial Automaton for Conveying Emotions) in course at the Research Centre "E. Piaggio" of the University of Pisa is aimed at developing an android face endowed with dynamic expressiveness and artificial vision. The bioinspired approach behind the development of this system foresees the adoption of electroactive polymers as pseudo-muscular actuators to provide motion to the silicone skin of FACE, as well as to its eyeballs. The eyes of such a human-like automaton, and in particular the achievable movements of them, play a relevant role for the "believability" of the overall system, and thus of its effectiveness, as well as for the performance of the embedded artificial vision. This work presents preliminary results related the actuation of the FACE eyeballs by means of a new type (buckling) of dielectric elastomer actuator. This kind of actuator operates with out-of-plane unidirectional displacements. It is similar to the diaphragm-type one, with the difference that the necessary pre-deformation is enabled by an underlying hemispheric support, instead of pressurised air. One silicone-based buckling actuator was connected to a plastic eyeball of FACE via a tendon-like wire, in order to enable unidirectional rotations. Relative out-of-plane displacements of the actuator larger than 50% were achieved and used to provide rotations up to 13 degrees.

Paper Details

Date Published: 22 March 2006
PDF: 6 pages
Proc. SPIE 6168, Smart Structures and Materials 2006: Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD), 61681A (22 March 2006); doi: 10.1117/12.655254
Show Author Affiliations
F. Carpi, Univ. degli Studi di Pisa (Italy)
G. Fantoni, Univ. degli Studi di Pisa (Italy)
P. Guerrini, Univ. degli Studi di Pisa (Italy)
D. De Rossi, Univ. degli Studi di Pisa (Italy)

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

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