SMART - Soft Matter ARtificial muscles and Transducers
Head of the group:
Prof. Federico Carpi
Welcome to the SMART research group!
The research focus of the group is on biomedical and bioinspired mechatronic devices made of soft smart materials.
The main activities are oriented to the development of innovative devices based on electromechanically active polymer (EAP) transducers and, in particular, actuators and strain sensors made of dielectric elastomers (DEs).
DE actuators can show large deformations in response to electrical stimuli, while offering, at the same time, light weight, mechanical compliance, compact size, simple structure, low power consumption, acoustically silent operation, and low cost. Because of their ability to exhibit significant actuation upon electrical stimulation and mimic the main functional properties of natural muscles, DEs are referred to as ‘smart materials’ as well as ‘artificial muscle materials’.
DE strain sensors work according to the piezo-capacitive effect and are particularly advantageous to accurately detect large deformations/motions at relatively low frequencies, with a versatile and low-cost technology.
We study DE transducers as highly-promising solutions to the need for new electromechanical transduction technologies to enable a variety of applications not feasible or even imaginable with conventional technologies. Our activities cover the design, prototyping and testing of new devices and applications. Examples include bioinspired electrically tuneable lenses (Fig. 1), electrically refreshable Braille cells (Fig. 2), wearable tactile displays (Fig. 3) and biomimetic systems (Fig. 4).
|Fig. 1. Bioinspired tuneable lens.||Fig. 2. Refreshable Braille cell.
||Fig. 3. Wearable tactile display.||Fig. 4. Biomimetic systems.|
Videos of these and other devices/applications are available on the page 'Videos'.