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9 April 2010 Hydrostatically coupled dielectric elastomer actuators for tactile displays and cutaneous stimulators
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Hydrostatic coupling has been recently reported as a means to improve versatility and safety of dielectric elastomer (DE) actuators. Hydrostatically coupled DE actuators rely on an incompressible fluid that mechanically couples a DE-based active part to a passive part interfaced to the load. In this paper, we present ongoing development of bubble-like versions of such transducers, made of silicone and oil. In particular, the paper describes millimeter-scale actuators, currently being developed as soft, light, acoustically silent and cheap devices for two types of applications: tactile displays and cutaneous stimulators. In both cases, the most significant advantages of the proposed technology are represented by high versatility for design (due to the fluid based transmission mechanism), tailorable stiffness perceived by the user (obtained by adjusting the internal fluid pressure), and suitable electrical safety (enabled by both a passive interface with the user and the insulating internal fluid). Millimeter-scale prototypes showed a resonance frequency of about 250 Hz, which represents the value at which Pacinian cutaneous mechanoreceptors exhibit maximum sensitivity; this provides an optimum condition to eventually code tactile information dynamically, either in combination or as an alternative to static driving.
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Federico Carpi, Gabriele Frediani, and Danilo De Rossi "Hydrostatically coupled dielectric elastomer actuators for tactile displays and cutaneous stimulators", Proc. SPIE 7642, Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2010, 76420E (9 April 2010);

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