Actuators play a critical role in various systems, enabling the conversion of energy into physical motion similar to the functioning of human muscles. Their significance in mechanical, electrical, and electromechanical systems cannot be understated. However, the development of actuators has been hindered by their limited time frame of operation, rendering them incompatible with many modern applications.
Researchers at Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna recognize the pressing need to overcome these limitations and are dedicated to transforming the field of actuators. By addressing the challenge of brief muscular contractions, they aim to revolutionize the use of actuators and broaden their application across diverse industries.
The conventional approach to creating soft actuators involved employing multi-material structures, such as “pockets” made of flexible plastic films covered with conductive plastics and filled with oils. These structures mimic human muscles, contracting the film and displacing the fluid when electrically activated. However, this method falls short due to its limited operational time.
To tackle this issue, the researchers at Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna are embarking on groundbreaking research to develop actuators with extended durability. By incorporating advanced materials that exhibit superior stretching capabilities and enhanced resilience, they aim to overcome the limitations of traditional actuators. This innovative approach promises to open up new possibilities for actuators in various industries, including robotics, healthcare, and industrial automation.
Q: What are actuators?
A: Actuators are devices that convert energy into physical motion, resembling the function of human muscles.
Q: Why are actuators incompatible with modern applications?
A: Actuators have a limited operational time, which hinders their compatibility with various modern applications.
Q: What is the objective of the research at Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna?
A: The researchers aim to develop actuators with extended durability to expand their application across different industries.