Scientists are one step closer to artificial muscles. Orthotics have come a long way since their initial wood and strap designs, yet innovation lapsed when it came to compensating for muscle power–until now.
A collaborative research team has designed a wearable robot to support a person’s hip joint while walking. The team, led by Minoru Hashimoto, a professor of textile science and technology at Shinshu University in Japan, published the details of their prototype in Smart Materials and Structures, a journal published by the Institute of Physics.
“With a rapidly aging society, an increasing number of elderly people require care after suffering from stroke, and other-age related disabilities. Various technologies, devices, and robots are emerging to aid caretakers,” wrote Hashimoto, noting that several technologies meant to assist a person with walking are often cumbersome to the user. “[In our] current study, [we] sought to develop a lightweight, soft, wearable assist wear for supporting activities of daily life for older people with weakened muscles and those with mobility issues.”
The wearable system consists of plasticized polyvinyl chloride (PVC) gel, mesh electrodes, and applied voltage. The mesh electrodes sandwich the gel, and when voltage is applied, the gel flexes and contracts, like a muscle. It’s a wearable actuator, the mechanism that causes movement.
“We thought that the electrical mechanical properties of the PVC gel could be used for robotic artificial muscles, so we started researching the PVC gel,” said Hashimoto. “The ability to add voltage to PVC gel is especially attractive for high speed movement, and the gel moves with high speed with just a few hundred volts.”
In a preliminary evaluation, a stroke patient with some paralysis on one side of his body walked with and without the wearable system.
“We found that the assist wear enabled natural movement, increasing step length and decreasing muscular activity during straight line walking,” wrote Hashimoto. The researchers also found that adjusting the charge could change the level of assistance the actuator provides.
The robotic system earned first place in demonstrations with their multilayer PVC gel artificial muscle at the, “24th International Symposium on Smart Structures and Materials & Nondestructive Evaluation and Health Monitoring” for SPIE the international society for optics and photonics.
Next, the researchers plan to create a string actuator using the PVC gel, which could potentially lead to the development of fabric capable of providing more manageable external muscular support with ease.
The Latest on: Gel-based robotics
- Watch MIT's swimming hydrogel robot sneak up and grab a passing fish on November 10, 2018 at 4:00 pm
who have developed new gel-based underwater robots capable of a range of terrifyingly high-energy tasks — including swimming like an eel, and snatching (and then releasing) a live fish as it swims alo... […]
- Artificial muscles power up with new gel-based robotics on January 10, 2018 at 4:00 pm
(a) Overview of wearing set-up of the assist wear. (b) Structure of the multilayered PVC gel actuator with two types of anode mesh electrodes. The red layer with small holes is comprised of slide elec... […]
- Edible robots may soon get to work in your intestinal tract on March 14, 2017 at 10:26 am
PanARMENIAN.Net - The future of robotics is decidedly squishy. We've already seen gel-based 'bots that can catch fish, mimic octopi and even ones that can keep your heart pumping. And, if the research... […]
- This robot asks for clarification when it is confused on March 7, 2017 at 4:50 pm
When its certainty is high, the robot will simply hand over the object as requested. ALSO READ: Researchers develop gel-based robots that can catch live fish When it’s not so certain, the robot makes ... […]
- H+ Weekly — Issue #87 on February 5, 2017 at 1:10 am
Here we have a bioinspired bat robot which flies (or falls in style) just like a real bat. Engineers at MIT have fabricated transparent, gel-based robots that move when water is pumped in and out of t... […]
- These gel-based robots can catch live fish on February 4, 2017 at 4:19 am
New York, Feb 4 (IANS) Engineers have fabricated transparent gel-based robots that move when water is pumped in and out of them and can perform tasks like grabbing and releasing a live fish. According ... […]
- Transparent, gel-based robots can catch and release live fish on February 2, 2017 at 5:32 am
Engineers at MIT have fabricated transparent, gel-based robots that move when water is pumped in and out of them. The bots can perform a number of fast, forceful tasks, including kicking a ball underw... […]
- Watch MIT's swimming hydrogel robot sneak up and grab a passing fish on February 1, 2017 at 3:00 pm
That may be the tagline to 1978’s Jaws 2, but it also nicely sums up the work of researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who have developed new gel-based underwater robots capable of a r... […]
- MIT built a gel-based claw robot that can catch and release live fish on February 1, 2017 at 2:05 am
MIT’s latest robot looks a bit like one of those claw machines you find at the front of an arcade, only instead of metal, the claws are made of a clear, membranous substance. And instead of stuffed Mi... […]
- Media Download on February 1, 2017 at 2:03 am
“Hydrogels are soft, wet, biocompatible, and can form more friendly interfaces with human organs,” says Xuanhe Zhao, associate professor of mechanical engineering and civil and environmental engineeri... […]
via Google News and Bing News