Flexidrive: A soft artificial muscle motor

Iain A. Anderson, Tony Chun Hin Tse, Tokushu Inamura, Benjamin O'Brien, Thomas McKay, Todd Gisby

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We use our thumbs and forefingers to rotate an object such as a control knob on a stereo system by moving our finger relative to our thumb. Motion is imparted without sliding and in a precise manner. In this paper we demonstrate how an artificial muscle membrane can be used to mimic this action. This is achieved by embedding a soft gear within the membrane. Deformation of the membrane results in deformation of the polymer gear and this can be used for motor actuation by rotating the shaft. The soft motors were fabricated from 3M VHB4905 membranes 0.5mm thick that were pre-stretched equibiaxially to a final thickness of 31 μm. Each membrane had polymer acrylic soft gears inserted at the center. Sectors of each membrane (60° sector) were painted on both sides with conducting carbon grease leaving gaps between adjoining sectors to avoid arcing between them. Each sector was electrically connected to a power supply electrode on the rigid acrylic frame via narrow avenues of carbon-grease. The motors were supported in rigid acrylic frames aligned concentrically. A flexible shaft was inserted through both gears. Membranes were charged using a step wave PWM voltage signal delivered using a Biomimetics Lab EAP Control unit. Both membrane viscoelasticity and the resisting torque on the shaft influence motor speed by changing the effective circumference of the flexible gear.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationElectroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2011
Volume7976
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 17 2011
Externally publishedYes
EventElectroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2011 - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: Mar 7 2011Mar 10 2011

Other

OtherElectroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2011
CountryUnited States
CitySan Diego, CA
Period3/7/113/10/11

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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  • Cite this

    Anderson, I. A., Tse, T. C. H., Inamura, T., O'Brien, B., McKay, T., & Gisby, T. (2011). Flexidrive: A soft artificial muscle motor. In Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2011 (Vol. 7976). [79761T] https://doi.org/10.1117/12.880714