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Living machinesA handbook of research in biomimetics and biohybrid systems$
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Tony J. Prescott, Nathan Lepora, and Paul F.M.J Verschure

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780199674923

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199674923.001.0001

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(p.182) Chapter 20 Muscles
Living machines

Iain A. Anderson

Benjamin M. O’Brien

Oxford University Press

Mechanical devices that include home appliances, automobiles, and airplanes are typically driven by electric motors or combustion engines through gearboxes and other linkages. Airplane wings, for example, have hinged control surfaces such as ailerons. Now imagine a wing that has no hinged control surfaces or linkages but that instead bends or warps to assume an appropriate shape, like the wing of a bird. Such a device could be enabled using an electro-active polymer technology based on electronic artificial muscles. Artificial muscles act directly on a structure, like our leg muscles that are attached by tendon to our bones and that through phased contraction enable us to walk. Sensory feedback from our muscles enables proprioceptive control. So, for artificial muscles to be used appropriately we need to pay attention not only to mechanisms for muscle actuation but also to how we can incorporate self-sensing feedback for the control of position.

Keywords:   artificial muscle, dielectric elastomer, soft robot

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