Mushy parts for the following era of sentimental robotics

Mushy parts for the following era of sentimental robotics

An assembled delicate dynamic DEA valve. Credit score: Siyi Xu/Harvard SEAS

Mushy robots pushed by pressurized fluids may discover new frontiers and work together with delicate objects in ways in which conventional inflexible robots cannot. However constructing solely delicate robots stays a problem as a result of lots of the parts required to energy these gadgets are, themselves, inflexible.

Now, researchers from the Harvard John A. Paulson Faculty of Engineering and Utilized Sciences (SEAS) have developed electrically-driven delicate valves to regulate hydraulic delicate actuators. These valves might be utilized in assistive and therapeutic gadgets, bio-inspired delicate robots, delicate grippers, surgical robots, and extra.

The analysis was revealed within the Proceedings of the Nationwide Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

“Immediately’s inflexible regulation techniques significantly restrict the adaptability and mobility of fluid-driven delicate robots,” mentioned Robert J. Wooden, the Harry Lewis and Marlyn McGrath Professor of Engineering and Utilized Sciences at SEAS and senior writer of the paper. “Right here, we have now developed delicate and light-weight valves to regulate delicate hydraulic actuators that open up prospects for delicate on-board controls for future fluidic delicate robots.”

Mushy valves aren’t new however to date none have achieved the stress or circulation charges required by many current hydraulic actuators. To beat these limitations, the staff developed new electrically powered dynamic dielectric elastomer actuators (DEAs). These delicate actuators have ultra-high energy density, are light-weight, and may run for a whole lot of 1000’s of cycles. The staff mixed these new dielectric elastomer actuators with a delicate channel, leading to a delicate valve for fluidic management.







Motions of dynamic single-DEA actuator. Credit score: Siyi Xu/Harvard SEAS

“These delicate valves have a quick response time and are in a position to management fluidic stress and circulation charges that match the wants of hydraulic actuators,” mentioned Siyi Xu, a graduate pupil at SEAS and first writer of the paper. “These valves give us quick, highly effective management of macro-and small-scale hydraulic actuators with inside quantity starting from a whole lot of microliters to tens of milliliters.”

Utilizing the DEA delicate valves, the researchers demonstrated management of hydraulic actuators of various volumes and achieved unbiased management of a number of actuators powered by a single stress supply.

“This compact and lightweight DEA valve is able to unprecedented electrical management of hydraulic actuators, displaying the potential for future on-board movement management of sentimental fluid-driven robots,” mentioned Xu.

The analysis was co-authored by Yufeng Chen, Nak-Seung Patrick Hyun, and Kaitlyn Becker.


RoboBee powered by delicate muscle mass


Extra info:
Siyi Xu et al, A dynamic electrically pushed delicate valve for management of sentimental hydraulic actuators, Proceedings of the Nationwide Academy of Sciences (2021). DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2103198118

Offered by
Harvard John A. Paulson Faculty of Engineering and Utilized Sciences


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