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Adv Sci (Weinh). 2017 May 22;4(9):1600495. doi: 10.1002/advs.201600495. eCollection 2017 Sep.

Conduction Electrohydrodynamics with Mobile Electrodes: A Novel Actuation System for Untethered Robots.

Author information

1
The Bio Robotics Institute Scuola Superiore Sant' Anna Viale Rinaldo Piaggio 34 Pontedera (Pisa) 56025 Italy.
2
Department of Applied Physics Graduate School of Science and Engineering Waseda University 3-4-1 Okubo Shinjuku-ku Tokyo 169-8555 Japan.
3
Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics Shibaura Institute of Technology 3-7-5 Toyosu Koto-ku Tokyo 135-8548 Japan.

Abstract

Electrohydrodynamics (EHD) refers to the direct conversion of electrical energy into mechanical energy of a fluid. Through the use of mobile electrodes, this principle is exploited in a novel fashion for designing and testing a millimeter-scale untethered robot, which is powered harvesting the energy from an external electric field. The robot is designed as an inverted sail-boat, with the thrust generated on the sail submerged in the liquid. The diffusion constant of the robot is experimentally computed, proving that its movement is not driven by thermal fluctuations, and then its kinematic and dynamic responses are characterized for different applied voltages. The results show the feasibility of using EHD with mobile electrodes for powering untethered robots and provide new evidences for the further development of this actuation system for both mobile robots and compliant actuators in soft robotics.

KEYWORDS:

electrohydrodynamics; mobile robots; soft actuators; soft robotics; untethered

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