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1 April 2015 A multi-segment soft actuator for biomedical applications based on IPMCs
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With rapid progress of biomedical devices towards miniaturization, flexibility, multifunction and low cost, the restrictions of traditional mechanical structures become particularly apparent, while soft materials become research focus in broad fields. As one of the most attractive soft materials, Ionic Polymer-Metal Composite (IPMC) is widely used as artificial muscles and actuators, with the advantages of low driving-voltage, high efficiency of electromechanical transduction and functional stabilization. In this paper, a new intuitive control method was presented to achieve the omnidirectional bending movements and was applied on a representative actuation structure of a multi-degree-offreedom soft actuator composed of two segments bar-shaped IPMC with a square cross section. Firstly, the bar-shaped IPMCs were fabricated by the solution casting method, reducing plating, autocatalytic plating method and cut into shapes successively. The connectors of the multi-segment IPMC actuator were fabricated by 3D printing. Then, a new control method was introduced to realize the intuitive mapping relationship between the actuator and the joystick manipulator. The control circuit was designed and tested. Finally, the multi-degree-of-freedom actuator of 2 segments bar-shaped IPMCs was implemented and omnidirectional bending movements were achieved, which could be a promising actuator for biomedical applications, such as endoscope, catheterism, laparoscopy and the surgical resection of tumors.
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Dongxu Zhao, Yanjie Wang, Jiayu Liu, Meng Luo, Dichen Li, and Hualing Chen "A multi-segment soft actuator for biomedical applications based on IPMCs", Proc. SPIE 9430, Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2015, 94302Z (1 April 2015);

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