Ras Labs makes Synthetic Muscle™, which is a class of electroactive polymer (EAP) based materials and actuators that controllably contract and expand at low voltage (1.5 V to 50 V, including use of batteries), potentially sense pressure (gentle touch to high impact), and attenuate force. This offers biomimetic movement by contracting similar to human muscles, but also exceeds natural biological capabilities by expanding under reversed electric polarity. These EAPs are affordable and robust. They have been tested in many harsh environments, including extreme temperatures, high pressure underwater environments, and in space on the International Space Station. Potential load bearing applications are feasible, with significant mechanical strength when tested in compression. Selected EAP samples were tested and survived 3,000,000 cycles at 4 Hz from 5 psi to 30 psi, followed by a 50-psi compression. Human grasp is gentle yet firm, with tactile touch feedback. In conjunction with shape-morphing abilities, these EAPs also are being explored to intrinsically sense pressure due to the correlation between mechanical force applied to the EAP and its electronic signature. We are continuing to advance EAP technology and apply this technology towards robotic grippers. The robotic field is experiencing phenomenal growth in this fourth phase of the industrial revolution, the robotics era. The combination of Ras Labs’ EAP shapemorphing and sensing features promises the potential for robotic grippers with human hand-like control and tactile sensing. This work is expected to advance both robotics and prosthetics, particularly for collaborative robotics to allow humans and robots to intuitively work safely and effectively together.
Lenore Rasmussen, Peter N. Vicars, Calum Briggs, Tianyu Cheng, Edward A. Clancy, Shannon Carey, and Benjamin Secino, "Synthetic Muscle electroactive polymer (EAP) shape-morphing and pressure sensing for robotic grippers," Proc. SPIE 11375, Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) XXII, 1137505 (Presented at SPIE Smart Structures + Nondestructive Evaluation: April 27, 2020; Published: 21 May 2020); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2558965.
Conference Presentations are recordings of oral presentations given at SPIE conferences and published as part of the proceedings. They include the speaker's narration with video of the slides and animations. Most include full-text papers. Interactive, searchable transcripts and closed captioning are now available for most presentations.
Search our growing collection of more than 26,000 conference presentations, including many plenaries and keynotes.