Mechanical Engineering News
Assist. Prof. Hiroyuki Nabae received the SICE International Young Authors Award (4th - 8th Nov. 2019, Macau) in IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), which is one of the most prestigious conference in robotics and automation research field. The paper title is "Soft Polymer-Electrolyte-Fuel-Cell Tube Realizing Air-Hose-Free Thin McKibben Muscles". His paper was included in the Proceedings of IROS2019, and he presented it at this conference.
This study focuses on a thin McKibben artificial muscle, which is generally driven by air pressure and needs a pneumatic source such as a pump for actuation.
The electrolysis/synthesis of water by PEFC (Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cell) can realize electrically driven pneumatic actuators, but the stiffness of electrodes inhibits the flexibility of the artificial muscles.
The paper presented a newly developed PEFC tube with flexible electrodes and integration with the thin artificial muscle to result in an electrically driven artificial muscle with high flexibility.
This technology is expected to be applied to assistive suits and other robotic applications in the future.