New phenomenon discovered will enable better prosthetic hands and flapping robotic devices

03/31/2015 - 00:00

Dielectric elastomers are novel materials for making actuators or motors with soft and lightweight properties that can undergo large active deformations with high-energy conversion efficiencies. This has made dielectric elastomers popular for creating devices such as robotic hands, soft robots, tunable lenses and pneumatic valves -- and possibly flapping robotic wings.


Ref: Jianwen Zhao, Junyang Niu, David McCoul, Zhi Ren and Qibing Pei. Phenomena of nonlinear oscillation and special resonance of a dielectric elastomer minimum energy structure rotary joint. Applied Physics Letters, March 31, 2015 DOI: 10.1063/1.4915108

Maybe one day, biomimicry will be ever present with robotic butterflies and birds flying all around us on whatever mission their creators have programmed them for... hopefully not surveillance!  Maybe building gigantic space structures one day would be nice!