Printing 3D dielectric elastomer actuators for soft robotics
Rossiter, J., Walters, P. and Stoimenov, B. (2009) Printing 3D dielectric elastomer actuators for soft robotics. 11th SPIE Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) conference, San Diego, California, USA, Procee.
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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/12.815746
A conference paper presented at the 11th SPIE Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices Conference, March 2009, San Diego, California, USA. We present a new approach to the fabrication of soft dielectric elastomer actuators using a 3D printing process. Complete actuators including active membranes and support structures can be 3D printed in one go, resulting in a great improvement in fabrication speed and increases in accuracy and consistency. We describe the fabrication process and present force and displacement results for a double-membrane antagonistic actuator. In this structure controlled prestrain is applied by the simple process of pressing together two printed actuator halves. The development of 3D printable soft actuators will have a large impact on many application areas including engineering, medicine and the emerging field of soft robotics.