Hong Kong and American engineers have developed a new design of actuator for hydraulic and pneumatic robots. It consists of a tube which is twisted a small motor, it reduces and pushes the fluid medium. The actuator with such structure is Autonomous and does not require connection to a big external pump, but strong enough to be used in practice: ramoroka on these actuators were able to grab and lift a bottle of water, and play the piano. Article published in the journal Soft Robotics.
In many research projects on robotics are used pneumatic actuators: they allow you to greatly simplify the design. For example, widespread design raboroko in which each finger consists of a single cavity with projections. With the air of a finger, these projections are inflated and cause the finger to bend. In addition, the inflated parts of the structure are used in almost all soft robots.
But almost all these projects to create pressure in the chambers uses a large external pump. There are some exceptions, for example, the first entirely soft robot with decomposing hydrogen peroxide and microfluidic logic circuit or a compact pump that accelerates the fluid by the electric field, but they are designed for small force. Engineers under the direction of Unicane Lee (Yunquan Li) from the University of Hong Kong developed the design of the actuator, which allows you to create a lot of pressure with a small electric motor, which can be easily mounted to the robot.
The main part of the actuator consists of a flexible polymer tube, which is located inside the fluid — liquid or gas. On the one hand the tube is closed and attached to the electric motor, and the other is open and attached to it via adapter ring is connected to another vessel — it may be any other design, driven by the pressure.