Tim Helps from the University of Bristol team was at the Electroactive Polymers and Devices (EAPAD) conference presenting the team’s research on Electroactive Gel artificial muscles.
These muscles are made from a special kind of jelly which exhibits fascinating anodophilic behaviour. This means they “love” the anode (positive electrode), and crawl towards it when a voltage is applied to them.
By stacking layers of electroactive jelly on top of one another, the team can make artificial muscles which are soft and squishy, perfect for inclusion in wearable robotic clothing where motors and pistons can’t be used.
The paper relating to this research is available here.
We’re pleased to announce that Majid Taghavi and the University of Bristol team’s paper on 3D-printable variable stiffness structures has been published in the journal IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters!
These new materials can be 3D-printed into any shape, and by applying electricity to them they can be transitioned from being strong and stiff to being soft and flexible. Some of our target users, such as older adults, can get tired when they have to stand up for a long time (for example while doing the washing up). With these new materials, The Right Trousers can stiffen up to provide support to the user when needed, and become soft and flexible when the user needs to walk around or sit down!
The paper has been published Open Access so it’s freely available for reading by anyone! Read it here!
Our amazing Research Fellow, Sarah Manns, presented a poster about the project at the UCL Qualitative Health Research Symposium 2017! The poster was extremely well received with lots of interest, and Sarah became known as Robot Trouser Lady at the symposium!
As part of the fabrication and nano materials theme of the Right Trousers project we will be using the Toucan 6-head ink jet printing system at the EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Additive Manufacturing, based at Nottingham. The Toucan is capable of printing a up to six different functional materials (including materials for circuit tracks, electronic components and active structures) in one go. For more information on the Toucan system see the Centre’s lab page.
Here are a couple of pictures of the jetting system:(c) www.3dp-research.com
Meet the project team:
Back Row: Rory O’Connor, Tim Helps, Luke Hampshire, Ruth Goodridge , Russell Harris, Alex Bowen.
Front Row: Sarah Manns, Ailie Turton, Abbas Dehghani-Sanij, Uriel Martinez Hernandez, Arjan Buis, Jonathan Rossiter