Artificial Muscle Control

Artificial Muscle Control

Artificial Muscles, also known as Dielectric Elastomers, enable the creation of soft actuators, sensors, and power generators from inexpensive soft polymer materials that are potentially smaller, lighter, and more efficient than is possible using conventional electromechanical technology. As actuators, Artificial Muscles are compliant devices that can be made to expand or contract when an electrical stimulus is applied, producing performance characteristics similar to those of natural muscle such as high strain, high peak power, and variable compliance. They can also be used in reverse to convert mechanical energy into electrical energy and generate power. By combining sensing capabilities with actuation or power generation, fully compliant smart machines are possible. Researchers in the Biomimetics Lab at the University of Auckland are experts in the control of Artificial Muscle technology with a unique ability to integrate cutting edge research with expert rapid prototyping skills to turn Artificial Muscle device concepts into functional prototypes.

Objective

UniServices is seeking investment and partnerships with industry.

Unique Selling Propositions
  • Improved safety: inherent softness protects the device, its environment, and people
  • Broad operating envelope: they work well fast AND slow, ideal for renewable energy
  • Visually stunning: uniquely lifelike, easily visible motion offers a powerful visual impact
  • Silent operation: eliminates the 'whine' associated with high speed rotating parts
  • Lower part count: produce 'human-scale' motions, no complex transmission necessary
  • Highly configurable: made from lightweight, inexpensive, and highly processible materials
  • Soft and flexible: made from inherently soft materials
Applications
  • Flexible actuators
  • Flexible, light weight sensors
  • Toys and novelty products
  • Prosthetics
  • Wearable power generators
IP Strategy

A family of patents from provisional to PCT regarding control and self sensing of Artificial Muscle technology.

Project Status

Proof of Concept - Early prototype built