Proprioceptive electroactive artificial muscles
Traditional robots are mostly developed by assembling discrete components. Soft robots, however, need monolithic development, commonly with imprecise and graded borders between functional modules where each part of the robot may exhibit various functionalities. This approach may raise new fabrication and technological challenges, but provides additional advantages such as reducing weight, mass, and energy losses of the active components and better controllability of multi-DoF soft materials. In this regard, we are developing a novel electroactive actuator with built-in self-sensing capabilities as a new generation of bifunctional soft robotic components.
Artificial sphincter for incontinence
Urinary and Faecal incontinence received multiple, but no fully satisfactory treatment options. Among different treatment scenarios, an artificial sphincter is used for the severe cases to augment the natural sphincter force. The current artificial sphincter technologies, however, need complicated surgery and received multiple post-surgery problems. We are working on a new compact solution based on a novel biocompatible artificial muscle technology to tackle these life-altering medical conditions.
Hybrid soft-rigid robots
Soft robots usually require the integration of rigid structures into soft flexible materials to achieve a mechanical and functional interface, where traditional “nuts-and-bolts” assembly approaches rely on hard-hard interfacing are unsuitable. In this project, we are looking at a bio-inspired solution to develop a new type of multi-functional soft material for future hybrid soft-rigid robots.