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IMAGE: Design and fabrication precept of the MAIPAMs. (A) Schematic of the skeleton-free muscular hydrostats. (B) The morphology of the designed MAIPAMs. (C) Multiple-mode actuations of the MAIPAMs. (D) Schematic of…
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Credit: @Science China Press

Biological organisms (corresponding to elephant trunks, octopus tentacles, and human tongues) present outstanding dexterity and self-adaptation in unstructured environments, counting on the multiple-mode actuations of the skeleton-free muscular hydrostats. In common, muscular hydrostats primarily include well-ranged energetic 3D muscle-fiber arrays bundled by passive connective tissues (Fig. 1A). By selectively actuating the energetic 3D muscle-fiber arrays, muscular hydrostats can generate elongation, bending, contraction and twisting. Producing such multiple-mode actuation of muscular hydrostats is an attention-grabbing however long-lasting problem within the area of robotics.

During previous a long time, many artificial muscles (corresponding to dielectric elastomer actuators, pneumatic elastomer actuators, form reminiscence alloy/polymers) have been properly developed to generate varied actuations, which have been extensively utilized in comfortable robotic methods. However, existed artificial muscles often endure from single actuation mode, corresponding to elongation, bending, contraction, or twisting. Therefore, the event of artificial muscles with multiple-mode actuations stays elusive.

To tackle this problem, inspired by the 3D muscle-fiber arrays in muscular hydrostats, a bunch from Shanghai Jiao Tong University, led by Professors Guoying Gu and Xiangyang Zhu, reported a category of multiple-mode pneumatic artificial muscles, known as MAIPAMs, which are able to multiple-mode actuations, like muscular hydrostats. The MAIPAMs primarily include energetic 3D elastomer-balloon arrays bundled by a passive elastomer membrane (Fig. 1B). When the compressed air is utilized, every energetic elastomer balloon can generate an elongation whereas the passive elastomer membrane can remodel the elongation into multiple-mode actuations, together with elongation, bending, and spiraling (Fig. 1C). For the design and fabrication, a planar design and one-step rolling fabrication method (Fig. 1D-E) is proposed to construct the energetic 3D elastomer-balloon arrays of the MAIPAMs. In this sense, completely different MAIPAMs will be created to realize complicated actuation modes, corresponding to parallel elongation-bending-spiraling actuations, parallel 10 bending actuations for omnidirectionally recording movies in a confined house, and cascaded elongation-bending-spiraling actuations for gripping. Owing to the scalable benefits of the planar design and rolling fabrication method, MAIPAMs also can combine limiting layers for contraction and twisting actuation modes, or compliant electrodes for self-sensing. They lastly display that the MAIPAMs exhibits promising potentials within the area of sentimental robotics, corresponding to detecting environments, manipulating or gripping objects, and climbing inside a pipe-line.

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This analysis obtained funding from the National Natural Science Foundation of China, the Science and Technology Commission of Shanghai Municipality, and the China Postdoctoral Science Foundation.

See the article:

Jiang Zou, Miao Feng, Ningyuan Ding, Peinan Yan, Haipeng Xu, Dezhi Yang, Nicholas X Fang, Guoying Gu, and Xiangyang Zhu

Muscle-fiber array inspired, multiple-mode, pneumatic artificial muscles by planar design and one-step rolling fabrication

National Science Review, 2021, nwab048, https://doi.org/10.1093/nsr/nwab048

The National Science Review is the primary complete scholarly journal launched in English in China that’s aimed toward linking the nation’s quickly advancing group of scientists with the worldwide frontiers of science and expertise. The journal additionally goals to shine a worldwide highlight on scientific analysis advances throughout China.

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