In the last ten years, new EAP materials have emerged that exhibit large displacement in response to electrical stimulation enabling great potential for the field. To develop efficient and robust EAP material for practical applications efforts are underway to understand the behavior of EAP materials and improved characterization techniques. Further, to enhance the actuation force the basic principles are being studied using comprehensive material science, electro-mechanics analytical tools and improved material processing techniques to gain better understanding of the parameters that control the EAP electro-activation force and deformation. The processes of synthesizing, fabricating, electroding, shaping and handling are being refined to maximize the EAP materials actuation capability and robustness. Methods of reliably characterizing the response of these materials are required to establish database with documented material properties in order to support design engineers considering use of these materials and towards making EAP as actuators of choice. Various configurations of EAP actuators and sensors need to be studied and modeled to produce an arsenal of effective smart EAP driven system. The development of the infrastructure is a multidisciplinary task involving materials science, chemistry, electro-mechanics, computers, electronics, and others. This paper will be a review of the status of the EAP field and the challenges to practical application of EAP materials as actuators.