Anaheim Marriott
Anaheim, California, United States
26 - 30 April 2020
Special Events
22nd Annual EAP-in-Action Session and Demonstrations
Date: Monday 27 April 2020
Time: 4:30 PM - 5:45 PM
Location: Grand Ballroom E/F
Part of conference 11375 on EAPAD. Review the full conference program here.

Session Chair: Yoseph Bar-Cohen, Jet Propulsion Lab.

This Session highlights some of the latest capabilities and applications of Electroactive Polymers (EAP) materials where the attendees are shown demonstrations of these materials in action. Also, the attendees interact directly with technology developers and given "hands-on" experience with this emerging technology. The first Human/EAP-Robot Armwrestling Contest was held during this session of the 2005 EAPAD conference.

2020 EAP-in-Action Judges:
  • Ray H. Baughman, The Univ. of Texas at Dallas (United States)
  • Kwang Kim, Univ. of Nevada, Las Vegas (United States)
  • John D. Madden, The Univ. of British Columbia (Canada)
  • Qibing Pei, Univ. of California, Los Angeles (United States)
  • Herbert Shea, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (Switzerland)
Tentative EAP Demonstrations

Diaphragm actuator can lift 4kg with a 0.96g DE
Koji Oni, Aisin AW Co., Ltd. (Japan), Mikio Waki, Wits Inc. (United States), Seiki Chiba, Chiba Science Institution (Japan)

Using only 0.96g of dielectric elastomer actuator and applying about 3kV we will be demonstrated can lift a weight of 4kg over 1mm. It is driven at relatively high speed and the time required to move 1 mm can be 98 milliseconds. The DEA achieves high output using SWCNT electrodes suitable for acrylic dielectric elastomers. Currently, we are developing a new dielectric elastomer material and SWCNT. With such, we seek to make the actuator more compact and obtain higher output power. Within a year’s time, we are aiming for a DEA that lifts 8kg.

Super flexible electrode for a DE made with CNT spray
Makoto Takeshita, Mitsugu Uejima, Zeon Corp. (Japan), Mikio Waki, Wits Inc. (United States), Seiki Chiba, Chiba Science Institution (Japan)

A CNT spray can impart conductivity to various materials through simple application alone, not requiring any special equipment or techniques. The sprayed CNTs are flexible after drying and remain conductive and connected even when bent or stretched. In addition, because of its excellent adhesiveness, it does not easily peel off or scatter after drying. It is very easy to use, able to be applied with a special CNT paint spray. Expensive dispersing equipment and special coating equipment are not required, doing away with troublesome dispersion work. With a CNT sprayer and dielectric elastomer, it is possible to make a DE easily, which can further promote DE research and trial production. It is possible to change the content of CNTs according to the purpose. By simply applying CNT spray, the following can be easily achieved: DE electrodes, wiring of electronic circuits that require flexibility, mounting of electronic components on flexible PCBs, and rubber that requires flexibility. It is also possible to easily add conductivity to a sponge.

Synthetic MuscleTM in robotics: sensing and shape-morphing
Lenore Rasmussen, Peter Vicars, Calum Briggs, Ras Labs Inc. (United States)

The Ras Labs’ Synthetic MuscleTM is made of an EAP material that can be actuated controllably to contract and expand under low voltage (< 50 V). It can be used to sense pressure from gentle touch to high impact. The latest capabilities of this EAP material will be demonstrated.

Design advances in HASEL artificial muscles
Nicholas Kellaris, Shane K. Mitchell, Philipp Rothemund, Christoph Keplinger, Univ. of Colorado, Boulder (United States)

Some recent advances in HASEL artificial muscle designs will be presented. This includes a new HASEL geometry that enables increased strains versus traditional designs. In addition, we will demonstrate a new design of HASEL that uses bioinspiration to combine rigid and soft components and create an actuator capable of bending motion to enable fast, strong, soft-actuated joints that can be independently-controlled.

Virtual Reality demo of underwater gesture recognition glove
Derek Orbaugh, Univ. of Auckland (New Zealand)

We have developed a glove capable of recognizing a range of hand gestures and translating these into commands for a virtual AUV. Dielectric elastomer strain sensors were placed on each finger to measure the angular displacement in the proximal and distal directions. An IMU is placed in the dorsal side of the palm for complex gesture recognition. A haptic motor is used for feedback when a gesture is recognized. The virtual environment simulates an AUV floating in an underwater world for the user to interact with. The aim of this environment is to train divers before using our smart dive glove for underwater communication.

Coiled polymeric fiber based actuators for environment control and soft robotics
Marcio Lima, Lintec of America, Inc. (United States)

It has been demonstrated1,2,3 that highly twisted polymeric fibers are also capable to generate impressive tensile actuation, providing large strokes and vastly exceeding the work and power capabilities of natural skeletal muscle. Contraction of over 50%, and lifting capacity up to 270 pounds weight have achieved using a single coiled fibers. These actuators are also can operate as torsional motors: a thin fiber can rotate heavy rotors at up to 100,000 rpm for 1,000,000 cycles. Actuation can be driven by electrical signals or by relatively small variation in environmental temperature, which can be converted into mechanical work. Bi-stable operation is also possible: energy is required only to change the shape of the actuator between two positions. Fig. 1 shows an example of automatic environmental temperature control using only coiled polymeric fibers which are capable to open and close the roof a simulated greenhouse in order to regulate its internal temperature. No electricity is required. Fig. 2 Shows torsional, electrically driven actuation to control light and air flow. Another filed of applications is on soft-robotics: since these actuators are very flexible, capable to produce large tensile strength and easily assembled into arrays they are suitable for construction of soft manipulators, as shown in Fig. 3.

1. Lima, M.D., et al. Science 338 (2012) 929
2. Haines, C.S., et al. Science 343 (2014) 868
3. Lima, M.D., et al. Small 11 (2015) 3113

High Voltage Signal Generator (HVSG)
Markus Henke, PowerOn Ltd. (New Zealand), Technische Univ. Dresden (Germany), Univ. of Auckland (New Zealand), Zak Bah, PowerOn Ltd. (New Zealand), Katie Wilson, Iain Anderson, PowerOn Ltd. (New Zealand), Univ. of Auckland (New Zealand)

We will demonstrate our latest HV Generator as a driver dielectric elastomers (DEs) that is the result of our work since 2008. This HVSG power supply is also a controller for running demonstrators and experimental setups that require high voltage, with 4 independent channels. Dielectric elastomers, piezo electronics, electro stiction or robotics are some the applications for the HVSG. It is, multichannel unit that delivers several standard waveforms up to 1kHz and 4000V. To simplify demonstrations and extend usefulness, the HVSG comes with rechargeable, high performance lithium polymer batteries. An integrated controller, with touchscreen interface, further simplifies setup – and we also included an interface bus to stream signals or for synchronization with other instruments.

Soft tactile detectors for soft grippers
Markus Henke, PowerOn Ltd. (New Zealand), Technische Univ. Dresden (Germany), Univ. of Auckland (New Zealand), Dawei Zhang, PowerOn Ltd. (New Zealand), Katie Wilson, PowerOn Ltd. (New Zealand), Univ. of Auckland (New Zealand), Andreas Richter, Technische Univ. Dresden (Germany)

We will present an implementation of entirely soft and stretchable geometric dielectric elastomer switches (gDES) for soft robotic components. The switches are arranged in 2D arrays to enable space-resolved tactile sense. Soft adaptive grippers have the ability to grip randomly formed objects by adapting their geometry. To do so, they undergo large three-dimensional deformations. At the moment, there is a lack of electronics for touch detection in such grippers, because conventional electronics rely on rigid semi-conductor electronics and would hinder large deformations. Soft and stretchable gDES arrays give soft robotic grippers the ability to detect touch and do not prevent adaptive gipping. We present a soft tactile sensor attached to an adaptive gripper unit and the design of a control-loop that can adjust the gripping force to the gripped object. A FESTO fin-ray gripper with all necessary peripheral components, such as pressure-controller and control-valves is used as proof of concept system. Fin-ray grippers are soft, adaptable grippers that can grip variously formed objects, but do not possess any sensing electronics for touch detection so far. Our soft tactile gDES sensor arrays give soft grippers the ability to “feel” touch.

Electroadhesive DEA-powered snake robot
Joseph Ashby, Samuel Rosset, Univ. of Auckland (New Zealand), Markus Henke, Univ. of Auckland (New Zealand), Technische Univ. Dresden (Germany) and PowerOn Ltd. (New Zealand), Iain Anderson, Univ. of Auckland (New Zealand), StretchSense Ltd. (New Zealand) and PowerOn Ltd. (New Zealand)

We present here a bioinspired crawling robot based on the movement of Serpentes, using phased actuation to produce periodic deformation coupled with controllable adhesion through electroadhesive pads. This design allows the robot to traverse over smooth surfaces, a task its biological inspiration is unable to achieve as they rely on friction from their environment in order to generate forward motion. The electroadhesion would also allow the robot to operate in zero gravity environments, where traditional wheeled or walking robots cannot. The design uses hinged rigid sections which are linked by DE actuators, allowing them to bend. Changing the waveform of the periodic deformation, along with the phased actuation of the electroadhesive feet produces different motions accordingly.

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