Widespread adoption of soft robotic technologies is held back by the limitations of existing soft robotic actuators. One cause of the limited performance of soft actuators is their uni-polar stroke, which means only part of the work-cycle is powered. In this work, we introduce RoboHeart, a bi-directional compliant smart actuator. RoboHeart consists of two spring-steel strips covered with PVC insulation, pre-bent into a heart shape and is driven by dielectrophoretic zipping. Here, we perform isotonic and isometric characterisation of RoboHeart performance, demonstrating work output of 17 mJ (expansion) and 18 mJ (contraction) and power of 1.5 mW (expansion) and 2 mW (contraction). We then confirm the practical application of RoboHeart by demonstrating a 10-RoboHeart ring configuration capable of gripping a range of objects as they are lifted. We also demonstrate bidirectional control of actuation using three separate control channels. We believe that RoboHeart represents a step towards high-performance soft actuators and technologies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10352-10358
Number of pages7
JournalIEEE Robotics and Automation Letters
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jul 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The Work of Mohammad Naghavi Zadeh, Martin Garrad, and Christian Romero was supported by EPSRC Research under Grant EP/T020792/1. The work of Andrew Conn was supported by EPSRC Research under Grants EP/T020792/1, EP/R02961X/1, and EP/W006235/1. The work of Fabrizio Scarpa was supported by the EPSRC Research under Grants EP/T020792/1 and EP/R032793/1. The work of Jonathan Rossiter was supported in part by EPSRC Research under Grants EP/T020792/1, EP/V026518/1, EP/S026096/1, EP/R02961X/1, and in part by the Royal Academy of Engineering as a Chair in Emerging Technologies.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 IEEE.


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