Wet Shape Memory Alloy Actuators for Active Vasculated Robotic Flesh


− A new type of actuator is presented where Shape Memory Alloy (SMA) wires are embedded within artificial " blood vessels. " Fluid flowing through vessels allows the SMA wires to be rapidly cooled by convection, resulting in greater bandwidth than ordinarily possible. Combinations of electric, fluidic, and thermal inputs can be used to control the contraction/extension of the SMA wires within the compliant vessels. These wet vascular SMA actuators can be used as robotic muscle or even embedded in a compliant rubber material to create an active vasculated robotic flesh. This paper begins by proposing a type of biomimetics where robots and machines are imbued with a vasculature or network of blood vessels. The concept of a wet SMA actuator is then introduced as an immediate application of a vasculated robot. A wet SMA actuator is then designed and implemented. Initial prototypes are 3mm in diameter and are capable of 2% strain at 2Hz by pulsing 2A of current and 3mL/s of water. Reservoirs of hot and cold water are also used to recycle the thermal energy and allow the actuators to exert static force with no electric current. Finally, multiple vascular SMA actuators are imbedded within a 4mm thick rubber sheet to implement the active vasculated robotic flesh.

DOI: 10.1109/ROBOT.2003.1241609

Extracted Key Phrases

9 Figures and Tables

Showing 1-10 of 16 references

A Comparison of Muscle with Artificial Actuators

  • I W Hunter, S Lafontaine
Highly Influential
4 Excerpts

Selected Properties of NiTi

  • Memory Shape, Inc Applications
  • 1999
Highly Influential
1 Excerpt

Fundamentals of Heat and Mass Transfer

  • F P Incropera, D P De, Witt
  • 1990
Highly Influential
3 Excerpts

Fast Reversible NiTi Fibers for Use in Microrobotics

  • I W Hunter, S Lafontaine, J M Hollerbach, P J Hunter
Highly Influential
1 Excerpt

Human Physiology: the Mechanisms of Body Function

  • A J Vander, J H Sherman, D S Luciano
  • 2001
1 Excerpt

Shape Memory Materials

  • K Otsuka, C M Wayman
  • 1998
1 Excerpt

Enhanced Cooling of Shape Memory Alloy Wires Using Semiconductor 'Heat Pump' Modules

  • A R Shahin, R H Meckl, J D Jones, M A Thrasher
  • 1994
1 Excerpt

Engineering Aspects of Shape Memory Alloys

  • T W Duerig, K N Melton, D Stockel, C M Wayman
  • 1990
1 Excerpt
Showing 1-10 of 15 extracted citations