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The future of Soft robotics : Low-voltage actuator


In the future, robots are widely used. For industrial, service, exploration, and medical care, robots with artificial intelligence are needed. The development of intelligent robots will have a revolutionary impact on human beings. The challenges of today’s intelligent robot development include: lack of perception of the external environment, insecurity with human interaction, lack of freedom of movement, and so on. In particular, robots do not have the perception of the skin, so that the robot can not perceive the external environment, and it is difficult to perceive the feedback in the control, which not only greatly reduces the application, but also increases the danger of human-machine use.

Appearance of the Robots:

It is very difficult to realize the perception of the skin of the robot, because the traditional hard sensor can not be configured with the appearance of the robot. Moreover, the power consumption of the traditional passive sensing component will be independent under the large-area and large-density configuration. A big problem in operating robot power. Among all the robots, the flexible robot has a soft and adaptable appearance, which provides better freedom of movement than a hard robot, and a safe and compliant “human-machine” and “environment-machine” interaction. However, because the soft robot continuously bends and deforms, it is more difficult to realize the soft robot’s perception of the skin.

Nano-generator used to realize Active sensing:

Recently, under the leadership of Academician Wang Zhong Lin from the Georgia Institute of Technology and the Institute of Nano-Energy and Systems of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Professor Lai Ying Zhi, Dr. Deng Jianan, Dr. Liu Ruiyuan and other researchers used the friction nano-generator to realize the active sensing and response capability of flexible robots.

How to create sensing capability in Robots?

Through the triboelectric effect of nature, various soft robots can biologically and actively perceive external stimulation and internal muscle movement. The researchers first developed a friction nanogenerator electronic skin that has both excellent mechanical stretchability (100% strain tensile properties) and excellent low pressure sensitivity (9.54 V kPa-1, “5 kPa; minimum detection limit to 63 Pa”). At the same time, it has the characteristics of excellent mechanical and excellent sensing ability, and the material modulus of the flexible robot is matched, so that the frictional electric electronic skin can be integrated into the pneumatic actuator, and the flexible robot adapts to the soft muscle of the environment, making the flexibility.

The robot can perform a variety of active sensing and responsive tasks. The soft fixture with the skin of the friction nano-generator can autonomously perceive every action (including proximity, take-up, lifting, etc.) of the moving commodity, and can detect the risk of accidental falling of the commodity.


Soft robotic fingers with friction nanogenerator skin have the potential to help check if the baby is urinating. Soft robots with friction nano-generator skin also have the potential to help humans palpate, eliminating the discomfort of hard robots. A soft robot with a friction nanogenerator skin can sense the movement of each muscle during the movement, and the friction nano-generator robot skin can be partially on the surface of the soft robot. In addition to being able to perceive human touch, you can interact with humans with sound, light, and phrases.

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