Artificial vibrissae DEA-based module

Tareq Assaf, Andrew T Conn, Jonathan M Rossiter, Peter Walters, Martin Pearson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)

2 Citations (Scopus)


The article presents a working whisker structure based on dielectric elastomer actuators (DEAs). This preliminary work aims to exploit the features of the dielectric elastomer technology for use in an effective and reliable robotic application whilst accommodating the limitations of this emerging actuation technique. To this end, a modular design and structure have been conceived to simplify the building and repair process of the critical components such as the connectors, wiring, sensors and DEA membranes. This design represents the engineering and scaling of the concepts and techniques developed in previous work, and to overcome identified technical and methodological constraints that previously prohibited extensive real applications. The structure is realised as a trade-off between the unique characteristics of the DEA technology and the robotic development issues. Safety, robustness, production time and key aspects of robotic design are taken into account in the development of this prototype. The results presented show how this structure addresses the design requirement and technical constraints previously identified. The active whisking range achieved is ±14 degrees, measured using image processing of videos captured by both standard and high speed cameras. This metric will be used as one of the measures for planned improvements that are discussed in addition to the advantages and limitations of the structure and the design decisions made.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
PublisherSociety of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE)
ISBN (Print)9780819499820
Publication statusPublished - 9 Mar 2014
EventElectroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices, EAPAD 2014 - San Diego, CA, United Kingdom
Duration: 10 Mar 201413 Mar 2014


ConferenceElectroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices, EAPAD 2014
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
CitySan Diego, CA

Structured keywords

  • Tactile Action Perception


  • artificial muscles
  • artificial whisker
  • DEAs
  • EAPs
  • modular structure
  • tactile sense


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