Multifunctional Electroelastomer Roll Actuators and Their Application for Biomimetic Walking Robots
SRI INTERNATIONAL MENLO PARK CA
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Dielectric elastomer artificial muscles electroelastomers have been shown to exhibit excellent performance in a variety of actuator configurations. By rolling highly prestrained electroelastomer films onto a central compression spring, we have demonstrated multifunctional electroelastomer rolls MERs that combine load bearing, actuation, and sensing functions. The rolls are compact, have a potentially high electroelastomer-to-structure weight ratio, and can be configured to actuate in several ways including axial extension and bending, and as multiple degree-of-freedom DOF actuators that combine both extension and bending. 1-DOF, 2-DOF, and 3-DOF MERs have all been demonstrated through suitable electrode patterning on a single monolithic substrate. The bending MER actuators can act as leg and knee joints to produce biomimetic walking that is adaptable to many environments. Results of animation and the fabrications of a robot model of a synthetic bug or animal based on the MERs are presented. A new concept for an antagonist actuator for more precise control is introduced.