All-soft material system for strong soft actuators

R. Adam Bilodeau, Asian Miriyev, Hod Lipson, Rebecca Kramer-Bottiglio

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

22 Scopus citations


In this paper, we present an improvement to a recently developed thermally responsive silicone-based actuator. The actuator is made of silicone with dispersed solvent droplets and expands when the droplets undergo a liquidgas phase transition, which is achieved at low voltages using an embedded Joule heater. In previous work, the embedded heater was a nickel-chromium spiral-shaped Joule heating wire. In the present work, we replace the wire with a silicone-based conductive composite to create a fully soft actuator. We characterize the thermal response of the conductive composite for Joule heating the actuator and the blocked force of the actuator when implemented as a McKibben-like muscle. From this, we show that the conductive composite performs as well as the original wire heater, with improved material compatibility. Finally, we demonstrate a 20 g silicone actuator embedded with the conductive composite lifting its 4.3 kg DC power source.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2018 IEEE International Conference on Soft Robotics, RoboSoft 2018
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9781538645161
StatePublished - 5 Jul 2018
Externally publishedYes
Event1st IEEE International Conference on Soft Robotics, RoboSoft 2018 - Livorno, Italy
Duration: 24 Apr 201828 Apr 2018

Publication series

Name2018 IEEE International Conference on Soft Robotics, RoboSoft 2018


Conference1st IEEE International Conference on Soft Robotics, RoboSoft 2018


  • all-soft system
  • soft artificial muscle
  • soft electrically conductive heater
  • thermally responsive actuator

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Control and Optimization
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Mechanical Engineering


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