This technology enables the potential for wearable muscles. For those lacking mobility or function could be life-changing. Previous actuator robotic technologies were too rigid and unable to apply and modulate high levels of strain. However, this technology offers a soft, planar, actuator controlled by the flow of hydraulic fluid in elastic fibers that can withstand and modulate high levels of strain. Unlike other technologies using potentially explosive gases, this one employs the use of hydraulic fluid to ensure that the devices remain safe for contact with humans, even when high forces or pressures are applied. Experiments also reveal that these soft actuators can effect strains approaching 100%, with forces that can be readily scaled according to application requirements. As it can be both flexible and responsive, unlike many other compression technologies, it has potential applications in healthcare applications to produce active compression. This technology is easily fabricated using a large variety of materials, is flexible and can apply a wide range of strains which allows it to address needs in numerous fields including wearable robotics, wearable computing, healthcare, and technical apparel.
Primary Application Area: Materials, Chemical
Technology Development Status: Prototype
Technology Readiness Level: TRL 4
Vetted Programs/Awards: NSF #1628831
Organization Type: Academic/Gov Lab
Showcase Booth #: 211
GOVT/EXTERNAL FUNDING SOURCES