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Publication - Dr Andrew Conn

    Non-back-drivable binary bistable DEA device


    Hinitt, A, Conn, A & Rossiter, J, 2015, ‘Non-back-drivable binary bistable DEA device’. in: Proceedings on Fifth international conference on Electromechanically Active Polymer (EAP) transducers & artificial muscles. EuroEAP


    Research into soft actuator technologies has rapidly expanded due to the inherent compliance of the active materials and the opportunities this offers. Bi-stability has been actively explored, where the controllable elasticity of the actuator can enable the transition of an end effector. However, it is still necessary in some cases for these actuators to interact with rigid objects, which can lead to challenging dynamics due to the soft elastic materials used. A non-back-drivable binary bi-stable actuating device is presented to overcome this issue. A combined bistable mechanism and antagonistic DEA (dielectric elastomeric actuator) provide a method for generating rigid position control using soft actuation. The alternate relaxation of each DEA within the antagonistic pair configuration provides bi-directional linear translation. This translation is used to move a rotating locking pin between two zero-energy states. The locking pin can be utilised as a general-purpose end effector with bi-stable position control. Note that energy is only consumed during state transition. The bistable non-back-drivable mechanism is based on a rotating ratchet. This device has many applications where high loads must be accommodated, but where movement can occur in periods of low loading. This is commonly the case with robotic and state-switching engineering applications.

    Full details in the University publications repository