Dielectric elastomer actuators have the advantage of mimicking the salient feature of life: movements in response to stimuli. In this paper we explore application of dielectric elastomer actuators to artificial muscles. These artificial muscles can mimic natural masseter to control jaw movements, which are key components in facial expressions especially during talking and singing activities. This paper investigates optimal design of the dielectric elastomer actuator. It is found that the actuator with embedded plastic fibers can avert electromechanical instability and can greatly improve its actuation. Two actuators are then installed in a robotic skull to drive jaw movements, mimicking the masseters in a human jaw. Experiments show that the maximum vertical displacement of the robotic jaw, driven by artificial muscles, is comparable to that of the natural human jaw during speech activities. Theoretical simulations are conducted to analyze the performance of the actuator, which is quantitatively consistent with the experimental observations.
Yuzhe Wang and Jian Zhu, "Dielectric elastomer actuators for facial expression," Proc. SPIE 9798, Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2016, 97981W (Presented at SPIE Smart Structures and Materials + Nondestructive Evaluation and Health Monitoring: March 24, 2016; Published: 15 April 2016); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2218838.
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