Embassy Suites by Hilton Denver
Denver, Colorado, United States
4 - 8 March 2018
Special Events
20th Annual EAP-in-Action Session and Demonstrations
Date: Monday 5 March 2018
Time: 4:30 PM - 5:45 PM

Part of conference 10594 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.

Tentative EAP Demonstrations

Capacitive coupling as an underwater signal transmission interface
Christopher R. Walker, Samuel Rosset, and Iain Anderson, The Univ. of Auckland (New Zealand)

Capacitive coupling will be showcased as a signal transmission method to interface a capacitive strain sensor with electronics underwater. This signal transmission interface has the potential to simplify strain sensor integration into underwater wearables. The demonstration technology could be useful in diver health monitoring, human-interaction, and performance sport coaching applications.

Autonomous soft robots without electronics
E.-F. Markus Henke, Katherine E. Wilson, and Iain A. Anderson, Biomimetics Lab., The Univ. of Auckland (New Zealand)

Multifunctional dielectric elastomers possess outstanding characteristics for future developments in soft robotics. Large actuation combined with piezoresistive switches enables new fast dielectric elastomer logic elements that can directly drive soft robotic structures. Combining soft DE electronics with silicone skeletons enables the design of entirely soft, autonomous robots. This demo will present the design of soft skeletons (see example below), able to undergo large actuations and simultaneously maintaining necessary pre-strains in DE membranes; the integration of multifunctional DE electronics for autonomous signal generation using integrated DE oscillators; and a design that uses DE electronics, soft skeletons and electro static adhesion for locomotion.

An integrated self-priming circuit with electret charge source
Patrin K. Illenberger, Katherine E. Wilson, Udaya K. Madawala and Iain A. Anderson, Biomimetics Lab., Univ. of Auckland (New Zealand)

The Dielectric elastomer generator (DEG) is well suited for harvesting energy from natural motion sources. A DEG requires a source of initial high voltage priming charge to generate energy. In small DEG, a high voltage charge source is expensive and impractical to implement. To overcome this obstacle a Self Priming Circuit (SPC) was developed that uses low voltage and boosts this voltage. In this demo we present an Integrated SPC with an electret charge source that can rapidly boost charge to a high voltage without the need for external initial priming charge. A mechanical setup for evaluating the SPC can be seen in the provided figure.

Single channel high voltage power supply with integrated touch screen
Samuel Rosset, Biomimetics Lab, The Univ. of Auckland (New Zealand) and Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (Switzerland); Patrin Illenberger, Biomimetics Lab, The Univ. of Auckland (New Zealand); Samuel Schlatter Herbert Shea, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (Switzerland); Iain Anderson, Biomimetics Lab, The Univ. of Auckland (New Zealand)

A completely independent high-voltage power supply will be demonstrated to drive dielectric elastomer actuators. It can generate a user-programmable voltage between 0 V and 5 kV, either continuously or as a square signal between 1 mHz and 1 kHz. It integrates a large 7’’ LCD touch screen and a user-friendly graphic user interface. Its integrated battery makes it possible to use the power supply.

The latest offerings in wearable electroactive polymer technology from StretchSense Ltd.
Eric Ambos, Iain Anderson, StretchSense Ltd. (New Zealand)

This will include a glove that transmits via Bluetooth to phone or computer hand kinematic data from embedded stretch sensors with on-board inertial measurement. Uses include gaming, virtual reality and good old fashioned air guitar (or violin). The new application software can depict a live 3D rendering of your hand.

An untethered swimming robot powered by dielectric elastomer actuators
Mihai Duduta, Florian C. Berlinger, Hudson Gloria, Radhika Nagpal, Robert J. Wood, and David R. Clarke, Harvard Univ. (USA)

DEAs are rarely used in untethered robots because their force output is too small to enable locomotion via crawling or swimming. A multilayer assembly technique was developed to fabricate stronger bimorph actuators capable of outputting 20 mN of thrust when flapping in water at 1-8 Hz. A 10 cm long robot encapsulating the high voltage power supply that swims at 0.2 body lengths / second will be demonstrated.

Towards electroactive gel artificial muscle structures
Tim Helps, Majid Taghavi, Univ. of Bristol (United Kingdom)

Electroactive gel actuators show great promise as artificial muscles because of their high strain and low elastic modulus but were not yet demonstrated performance characteristics necessary for ubiquity. In this demo newly developed electroactive gel actuators will be demonstrated with performance, achieved by optimization of not just material but also structural design of constituent components.

HASEL: Hydraulically amplified self-healing electrostatic actuators with muscle-like performance
Eric Acome, Shane K. Mitchell, Timothy G. Morrissey, Nicholas Kellaris, Vidyacharan Gopaluni Venkata , Madison B. Emmett, Claire Benjamin, Madeline King, Garrett Smith, Miles Radakovitz, Christoph Keplinger, Univ. of Colorado (USA)

Soft electrostatic actuators that provide muscle-like performance will be demonstrated. These electrically controlled devices are based on a new class of soft actuators, termed hydraulically amplified self-healing electrostatic (HASEL) actuators, which recover from electrical failure while also combining the benefits of pneumatic and dielectric elastomer actuators. Key attributes are presented such as the ability to deliver large actuation force, achieve large actuation strain, output high power, and self-sense deformation for controlled actuation.

Fabrication and characterizations of a full-plastic micropump with petal-shaped ionic polymer-metal composite actuators
Yanjie Wang, Jie Ru, Zicai Zhu, Deling Zhu, and Xiaobing Liang, Xi’an Jiaotong Univ. (China)

As a critical research area, micropump has extensively emerged for many electronics and biological applications, especially for drug delivery. The actuating diaphragm, a key component of micropump, plays an important role in pumping-system. IPMC is a promising material candidate for micropump actuating diaphragm since it can be operated with low input voltages and can produce a large stroke by appropriate structural design. In this demo, we will present a petal-IPMC diaphragm obtained by mechanical cutting into micropump.

Multiple mode ionic polymer-metal composite array for the use in travelling wave actuators and sensing
Sarah Trabia, Robert Hunt , Taeseon Hwang, Qi Shen, Zachary Frank, Justin Neubauer, Zakai Olsen, Tyler Stalbaum, Blake Naccarato, Kwang Kim, Active Materials and Smart Living Lab., Univ. of Nevada Las Vegas (USA)

In nature, there are teams of actuator-like limbs that move together, such as cilia. By producing a travelling wave effect, they can transport items, generate flow, and act as sensors. It would be ideal for researchers to be able to reproduce something similar to create more biomimetic systems. Presented is an Ionic Polymer-Metal Composite (IPMC) array that has the ability to work as a team of actuators moving in a travelling wave or a team of sensors, being able to give a reading of the flow across the surface of the array. In this demo an IPMC array that works as an actuator and sensor will be presented.

Applications of smart polymers and their structures
Liwu Liu, Xiongfei Lv, Qinghua Guan, Jinrong Li, Yanju Liu and Jinsong Leng, Harbin Institute of Technology (China)

This demonstration will show smart polymers and their structures in action taking advantages of their being light weight, fast response, and large deformation. The demonstration will include the applications of EAP, shape memory polymer (SMP) and other smart structures. Specifically, a smart gripper, based on EAP and SMP materials, will be presented. Different soft actuators with various structures could achieve bend, elongation, contraction and other types of movements.

Synthetic MuscleTM: Shape-morphing EAP based materials and actuators
Lenore Rasmussen, Simone Rodriguez, and Matthew Bowers, Ras Labs, Inc. (USA)

Ras Labs Synthetic MuscleTM is a class of electroactive polymer (EAP) based materials and actuators that contract, and with reversed electric input polarity, expand. Several actuators and sensors will be presented including a thick shape-morphing EAP pad that controllably contract or expand and is being used to prototype self-adjusting extremely comfortable prosthetic socket liners and other void-filling continual-fit applications, such as ear buds.

Haptic feedback demonstrators based on strip dielectric elastomer actuators
Philipp Loew, and Daniel Bruch, Univ. des Saarlandes, Lehrstuhl für Intelligente Materialsysteme, Intelligent Material Systems Lab (Germany)

In times where touchscreens become more and more present in our daily lives, a haptic feedback based on the image you are receiving from the screen is helpful to operate a touch device without looking at it. The haptic feedback demonstrator, which is based on strip dielectric elastomer actuators is, is designed to perform this task, especially simulating buttons and rough surfaces.

Loudspeaker based on cone shaped out-of-plane dielectric elastomer actuators
Philipp Loew, and Daniel Bruch, Univ. des Saarlandes, Lehrstuhl für Intelligente Materialsysteme, Intelligent Material Systems Lab (Germany)

Due to their advantages, such as lightweight, energy efficiency, low cost, compactness and freedom in design, dielectric elastomers are suited to substitute commercial loudspeakers. The presented demonstrator supplies the overall driving motion by an out-of-plane biased cone shaped dielectric elastomer actuator. In contrast to conventional loudspeakers, sound is generated by the active membrane surface.

Dielectric elastomer energy harvester autonomously primed by piezo- and tribo-electricity
Koh Soo Jin Adrian, Liu Chong, Ahmed Haroun, Anup Teejo Mathew, National Univ. of Singapore (Singapore)

A Dielectric Elastomer (DE) Energy Harvester that is autonomously-primed with a piezo- and a tribo-electric source will be demonstrated. The similar nature of piezo- and tribo-electric primers with DE allows a DEG to operate autonomously without the need of an external source of electricity. We present an assembly of a piezo-DEG and tribo-DEG energy harvester. The piezo- and tribo- sources will provide a voltage prime of about 100 V. The DE film then takes over the electrical charges from the piezo- and tribo- source, and amplifies the voltage.

High-frequency actuation of CuAlNi shape memory alloy thin film composites
Ashish K. Shukla, Akash K., Mani Prabu, Jayachandran S., Deepesh Meena, Sachin Bhirodkar, Anbarasu Manivannan, Palani I.A., Indian Institute of Technology (India)

Cu-Al-Ni Shape Memory Alloy/Polyimide composite films were developed by thermal evaporation exhibited two-way displacement without post processing and training. Developed sheets are actuated using joule heating at different frequencies and the displacement was measured using Laser displacement sensor. Wings made of these actuators will be demonstrated using voltages in square waveform with control over pulse width and amplitude.

Hybrid piezoelectric shunt dampers for space rack vibration control: modeling and optimization: CANCELED
Bo Yan, Ke Wang, Zhihong Qiao, Chuanyu Wu, Zhejiang Science and Technology Univ. (China)

In this demo, piezoelectric transducers with some hybrid shunt damping circuit will be demonstrated to reduce vibrations. An electrical absorber was designed and optimized with the modal damping method to suppress the one mode vibration.

Enhancing the capabilities of artificial muscle implants using low-voltage dielectric elastomer sensors
Tino Töpper, Bekim Osmani, Bert Müller, Univ. of Basel (Switzerland)

The reduction of elastomer film thickness to a few hundred nanometers allows dielectric elastomer transducers (DET) to operate with only a few volts. DET nanostructures based on polydimethylsiloxane films are reliably fabricated by molecular beam deposition and in situ ultraviolet radiation curing. As capacitive sensors, these nanometer-thin DETs exhibit outstanding sensitivity of 4 kPa-1 for pressures between 0.01 and 10 kPa, which corresponds to loads between 0.01 and 10 g/mm. This resolution qualifies for resolving pressure changes at urethra. The team envisions this sensor for reliable force feedback integrated into an artificial muscle implant to treat urinary incontinence. Photo: Nanometer-thin dielectric elastomer layers (green) are fabricated by molecular beam deposition on a 2-inch Si-wafer (blue). The embedding Au-electrodes (goldish) are contacted via liquid metal drops.

3D Printing Demonstration Session
Date: Wednesday 7 March 2018
Time: 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Part of conference 10597 on Nano-, Bio-, and Info-Tech Sensors and 3D Systems. Review the full conference program here.

Session Chairs:

Ajit Khosla
Yamagata Univ. (Japan)

Hidemitsu Furukawa
Yamagata Univ. (Japan)

This demonstration session will cover new 3D printing technologies such as focusing on soft robotics, molecular models, and food. Each demonstration will include a brief oral talk describing the technology. All registered attendees are welcome.

Tentative Demonstrations:

Smart Material for printing: Piezo-electric polymer film
Noriyasu Yamada, Atsuki Shiratori, Go Murasawa, Yamagata Univ. (Japan)

Poly(vinylidene fluoride) (PVDF) has four crystalline structures (α, β, γ and δ phase structures) in solid state. Only α-phase structure shows no crystal dipole, but this phase structure is converted easily into other phase structures according to some schemes. Generally, PVDF is given uniaxial stretch and polarization processes in order to convert into β-phase or γ-phase structure before sensor and actuator film use. However, we recently found a novel method in which PVDF film structure became β-phase or γ-phase without mechanical deformation processes. Furthermore, this technique enables us to apply printing technology, and realize the creation of free-form 3D sensor and actuators. Authors have constructed PVDF film fabrication techniques. As a result, PVDF crystalline structure was changeable using the techniques. In addition, a novel PVDF printer, which can draw free-form 2D PVDF film, has been developed on the basis of PVDF film fabrication results. We would present our PVDF film fabrication techniques and P-p printer in the demo session.

Fabrication of a 3D nano printing device
Jinseo Hong, Yusuke Masuda, Takashi Mineta, Yamagata Univ. (Japan)

We have developed a fabrication process of a 3D nano-printing device based on atomic force microscopic (AFM) probe technologies. The proposed device consists of twin silicon needle/cantilever probes. One is for high resolution imaging of a substrate surface for positioning, and the other is for liquid delivering to the substrate surface at an aimed position (Fig. 1). Figure 2 shows the fabricated prototype. The delivering cantilever has an embedded micro-fluidic channel (Fig. 3) and a silicon nano-needle with an outlet nozzle hole (Fig. 4). A liquid reagent is flown from reservoirs on a silicon base chip to a substrate surface through a micro-channel and an outlet nozzle. We have developed the fabrication process of narrow-gapped twin silicon AFM needle tips with liquid delivering function by using silicon narrow-trench etching, trench protection with refilling SiO2 film, and silicon crystalline anisotropic etching. Narrow-gapped twin triangular-pyramidal silicon tips, with a nozzle-hole (~φ 1 μm), can be formed at each end of the cantilevers through the self-align etching technique. The embedded micro-channel, connected to the nozzle hole, is formed by the similar trench etching, side-wall protection with SiO2 thin film, anisotropic plasma etching at the trench bottom for the channel expansion, and SiO2 film growth for sealing (Fig. 3). We have also proposed silicon dual cantilever stacked with FePd magneto-strictive thin film actuator for cantilever switching. The twin cantilevers were located orthogonally to each other. When external magnetic flux is applied along the cantilever, the magneto-strictive film deflects away from a substrate surface. After the release, the other non-deflected cantilever can be used for imaging or delivering operation. In our future work, we are going to characterize the liquid delivery property in detail and demonstrate the nano-printing method.

3D printing of foods
Mai Kodama, Ryo Ishigaki, Samiul Basher, Hiroyuki Sasaki, Azusa Saito, Masato Makino, Ajit Khosla, Masaru Kawakami, Hidemitsu Furukawa, Yamagata Univ. (Japan)

In recent years, various types of 3D printers have been developed along with the trend of manufacturing with 3D printers. 3D printers are mainly used to make "things" by using synthetic resin as materials, but recently 3D food printers that make "food" such as pizza and chocolate which were developed and became a hot topic. However, these 3D printers are adapted to only one material, which is difficult to shape in various food materials. Therefore, we developed a multi-material 3D food printer "FP-2400" that can be applied to other food materials. Many 3D food printers are syringe pump based, but FP-2400 is screw based. This is a very new type of 3D food printer. By adopting the screw type, it became easy to control the material, as well as possible to use several kinds of materials. So far, we have succeeded in shaping rice flour gel (Fig. 1), bean paste (Fig. 2), cookie (Fig. 3) etc. as food printing materials. It is possible to print with other food gel type materials, as long as we print like this. The bean paste (Fig. 2) is a traditional Japanese sweet, and sometimes many customers likes to take printed food at the exhibition (Fig. 4). Eating 3D-shaped foods was sometimes fun, and it is getting popularity. In the future, we aim to be able to design not only shape but also will think about nutrition, taste and texture with 3D food printer. We believe that this technology can be applied to nursing care and hospital foods that require special attention and we can prepare meals tailored as their needs. In this demo session we will show the shaping by the bean paste.

3D printing for gel robotics
Kazunari Yoshida, Yuki Takishima, Yuuta Hara, Masaru Kawakami, and Hidemitsu Furukawa, Yamagata Univ. (Japan)

It is very beneficial to utilize the 3D-printing technique for robotics. Since the 3D printing technique of hydrogel materials has been developed [1], application of gel materials to robotics become easier. Soft materials, such as polymer hydrogels, are required for developing the domestic robots, hence 3D-printed gel objects will play important roles in such fields. We are developing the gel pressure sensor utilizing ionic liquid [2]. In the case of application of alternating electric fields, impedance is decreased with increase in the pressure to ionic gel which is including the ionic liquid. Fig 1 shows the impedance as a function of applied normal load (control: particle double network gel). We combine this technique and 3D printing technique, and then, apply to soft robots and novel prosthetic arm. Furthermore, we are developing the jelly-fish-like soft robot utilizing the transparent shape memory gel (T-SMG) and shrinkable wires (Fig. 2). Such robot oscillatory move like jelly fish, and this movement is induced with silent. In addition, that will have a low environmental burden. We also combine this technique and 3D printing technique, and apply to underwater exploration gel robots.

RepRap SWIM-ER: low-cost open-source 3D gel printer
Azusa Saito, Kei Sato, Samiul Basher, Masaru Kawakami, Hidemitsu Furukawa, Yamagata Univ. (Japan)

Gels, soft and wet materials, have unique properties such as transparency, biocompatibility, and low friction. In recent years, high strength gel has been developed. Various studies take advantage of these characteristics has proceeded, we research to use high strength gel. High-strength gels are expected to be put to practical use in various situations. For example, gel organ models and gel artificial blood vessels are required at a medical site. Also in the field of robotics, soft materials are drawing attention. To put a high-strength gel into practical use, it is necessary to free-form a gel using a 3D gel printer. We developed a 3D gel Printer "SWIM-ER", has enabled modeling of complex shapes of the gel. However, this is expensive. Therefore not all of the gel researchers and the companies have such a device. “RepRap” is the abbreviation for “Replicating rapidly prototyper”, the open source 3D printer. Most of the RepRap parts are made of a resin, and the 3D digital data of the parts and its firmware are posted on the internet. Therefore, we can easily create another 3D printer by building the parts with a 3D printer and programing the firmware on an inexpensive electronic substrate like the “Arduino”. In this research, we aimed to develop a low-cost 3D gel printer which can be used by anyone using RepRap.

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