Soft actuators driven by pneumatic pressure are promising actuators for mechanical systems in medical, biological, agriculture, welfare fields and so on, because they can ensure high safety for fragile objects from their low mechanical impedance. In this study, a new rubber pneumatic actuator made from silicone rubber was developed. Composed of one chamber and one air-supply tube, it can generate curling motion in two directions by using positive and negative pneumatic pressure. The rubber actuator, for generating bidirectional motion, was designed to achieve an efficient shape by nonlinear finite element method analysis, and was fabricated by a molding and rubber bonding process using excimer light. The fabricated actuator was able to generate curling motion in two directions successfully. The displacement and force characteristics of the actuator were measured by using a motion capture system and a load cell. As an example application of the actuator, a robotic soft hand with three actuators was constructed and its effectiveness was confirmed by experiments.
Research Core for Interdisciplinary Sciences
© Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2011
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