27 March 2018 Design and experiment of an omnidirectional creeping soft robot driven by dielectric elastomer
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Soft creeping robots have great potential in fields of search-and-rescue for their excellent body compliance and adaptability in unstructured environments and the capacity of passing through a narrow space. But most of the reported soft creeping robots can only crawl forward or backward except a few ones can swerve using a differential actuation mechanism, the maneuverability of the existing soft creeping robots are generally poor which limits their practical applications. In this paper, we design a soft creeping robot driven by dielectric elastomer (DE) which has the ability of omnidirectional movement. The robot mainly consists of a circular deformable body and six thin feet which are evenly distributed around the body circumference. The robot body is an annular dielectric elastomer actuator (ADEA) made by connecting a six-segment dielectric elastomer minimum energy structure end to end, which has excellent ability of active deformation controlled by applied voltages. The six feet are essentially six paper-based electroadhesion actuators which can achieve adhesion or detachment with the ground. Experimental tests for the active deformation performance of the ADEA are implemented for optimizing design of the robot. Then through activating different DE segments, the ADEA deforms from a circle to an ellipse or some irregular shapes, cooperating actuation with the six electroadhesion actuators the robot realizes free movement towards twelve directions around the plane.
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Wen-Bo Li, Wen-Bo Li, Wen-Ming Zhang, Wen-Ming Zhang, Xin-Qiang Li, Xin-Qiang Li, "Design and experiment of an omnidirectional creeping soft robot driven by dielectric elastomer", Proc. SPIE 10594, Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) XX, 105941R (27 March 2018); doi: 10.1117/12.2296553; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2296553

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