Three-Dimensional Kinematic Modeling of Helix-Forming Lamina-Emergent Soft Smart Actuators Based on Electroactive Polymers

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IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics: Systems, ISSN: 2168-2232, Vol: 47, Issue: 9, Page: 2562-2573

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Mutlu, Rahim; Alici, Gursel; Li, Weihua
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
Computer Science; Engineering; Science and Technology Studies
article description
Robotic systems consisting of rigid elements connected to each other with single degree of freedom joints have been studied extensively. Robotic systems made of soft and smart materials are expected to provide a high dexterity and adaptability to their physical environment, like their biological counterparts. Electroactive polymer (EAP) actuators, also known as artificial muscles, which can operate both in wet and in dry environments with their promising features such as a low foot-print in activation and energy consumption, suitability to miniaturization, noiseless, and fully compliant operation can be employed to articulate a soft robotic system. This paper reports on kinematic modeling of a polypyrrole-based EAP actuator which is designed and fabricated to form helical configurations in 3-D from its initially spiral 2-D configuration. Denavit-Hartenberg transformations are combined with the backbone model of the actuator to establish the kinematic model. A parametric model has then been incorporated into the kinematic model to accurately estimate the helical configurations of the EAP actuator as a function of time under an electrical input. Experimental and simulation results, which are in good correlation, suggest that the proposed modeling approach is effective enough to estimate the 3-D helical configurations of the EAP actuator.