17 April 2017 Elastic actuation for legged locomotion
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Abstract
The inherent elasticity of dielectric elastomer actuators (DEAs) gives this technology great potential in energy efficient locomotion applications. In this work, a modular double cone DEA is developed with reduced manufacturing and maintenance time costs. This actuator can lift 45 g of mass (5 times its own weight) while producing a stroke of 10.4 mm (23.6% its height). The contribution of the elastic energy stored in antagonistic DEA membranes to the mechanical work output is experimentally investigated by adding delay into the DEA driving voltage. Increasing the delay time in actuation voltage and hence reducing the duty cycle is found to increase the amount of elastic energy being recovered but an upper limit is also noticed. The DEA is then applied to a three-segment leg that is able to move up and down by 17.9 mm (9% its initial height), which demonstrates the feasibility of utilizing this DEA design in legged locomotion.
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Chongjing Cao, Andrew Conn, "Elastic actuation for legged locomotion", Proc. SPIE 10163, Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2017, 101632W (17 April 2017); doi: 10.1117/12.2259776; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2259776
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