Enabling new biomedical and bioinspired mechatronic systems with electroactive polymer actuators

Federico Carpi, Queen Mary University of London, School of Engineering & Materials Science, London, UK
When Jan 14, 2013
from 02:00 PM to 03:00 PM
Where LR8
Contact Name
Contact Phone 01865 283302
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The development of a variety of new biomedical and bioinspired mechatronic systems poses challenges that share the need for innovative technologies for electromechanical transduction, so as to enable applications not feasible or even imaginable with conventional approaches. To address this need, new technologies based on electromechanically active polymer (EAP) transducers are progressively emerging as a promising solution. The idea is to use ‘active smart materials’ that exhibit a inherent mechanical response to an electrical stimulus, so as to design radically new electrical devices characterized by light weight, mechanical compliance, compact size, simple structure, low power consumption, acoustically silent operation, and low cost. EAPs offer such properties and are referred to as ‘artificial muscle materials’, because of their ability to undergo large and controllable deformations upon electrical stimulation. This seminar will be focused on the most versatile and performing EAP technology, known as dielectric elastomer actuators. Following a brief overview on the field and on the underpinning physical and engineering fundamentals, the seminar will present some devices and applications under development by the speaker’s group, including wearable haptic displays for vibro-tactile feedback in virtual reality systems, variable-stiffness orthotic systems for motor rehabilitation of the hand, refreshable Braille displays as portable tactile readers for the blind people, and bioinspired systems for artificial vision.

About the speaker:

Federico CarpiFederico Carpi was born in Pisa in 1975. He received the Laurea degree in Electronic Engineering, the Ph.D. degree in Bioengineering and a second Laurea degree in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Pisa, Italy, in 2001, 2005 and 2008, respectively. From 2000 to 2012, he has been with the University of Pisa, Interdepartmental Research Centre “E. Piaggio”, School of Engineering, Italy. Since 2012, he serves as an Associate Professor / Reader in Biomedical Engineering and Biomaterials at Queen Mary University of London, School of Engineering and Materials Science, UK. His research interests include smart material based biomedical and bioinspired mechatronic devices, polymer artificial muscles, as well as electrical and magnetic systems for non-invasive diagnostics. He coordinates the 'European Scientific Network for Artificial Muscles (ESNAM)', focused on transducers and artificial muscles based on electroactive polymers, and organizes the annual 'EuroEAP: International Conference on Electromechanically Active Polymer Artificial Muscles & Transducers'. He is an Editorial Board member of three international journals, and member of the scientific committees of several conferences. His publications include some 60 articles in international journals, 2 edited books and several contributions to books and conferences.