Dielectric elastomer (DE) is a type of soft actuating material, the shape of which can be changed under electrical voltage stimuli. DE materials have great potential in applications involving energy harvesters, micro-manipulators, and adaptive optics. In this paper, a stripe DE actuator with integrated sensing and actuation is designed and fabricated, and characterized through several experiments. Considering the actuator’s capacitor-like structure and its deform mechanism, detecting the actuator’s displacement through the actuator’s circuit feature is a potential approach. A self-sensing scheme that adds a high frequency probing signal into actuation signal is developed. A fast Fourier transform (FFT) algorithm is used to extract the magnitude change of the probing signal, and a non-linear fitting method and artificial neural network (ANN) approach are utilized to reflect the relationship between the probing signal and the actuator’s displacement. Experimental results showed this structure has capability of performing self-sensing and actuation, simultaneously. With an enhanced ANN, the self-sensing scheme can achieve 2.5% accuracy.
Zhihang Ye and Zheng Chen, "Integrated sensing and actuation of dielectric elastomer actuator," Proc. SPIE 10163, Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2017, 101630C (Presented at SPIE Smart Structures and Materials + Nondestructive Evaluation and Health Monitoring: March 27, 2017; Published: 17 April 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2262358.
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