A new class of devices is emerging that is constructed from soft materials instead of rigid materials. A specific class of these devices are soft actuators, which can be applied in for example the medical field as devices for rehabilitation or for predicting biomimetic motion of muscles, such as the motion of the heart (see figure, courtesy of James Weaver and Catfish Studio).
Besides fabrication and testing of these soft actuators, a large part of the research focuses on the use of Finite-Element Analysis to predict the non-linear response of the actuators, and therewith increasing the efficiency of the design process and the quality of the designs.
Vis, A., Arfaee, M., Khambati, H., Slaughter, M.S., Gummert, J.F., Overvelde, J.T.B., Kluin, J., (2022) The Ongoing Quest for the First Total Artificial Heart as Destination Therapy. Nature Reviews Cardiology. [Read only pdf][web]
Wang, Z., Galloway, K., Overvelde, J. T. B., Polygerinos, P., Bertoldi, K., Walsh, C. J., (2016). Interaction Forces of Soft Fiber Reinforced Bending Actuators. IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics, 99. [pdf]
Polygerinos, P., Wang, Z., Overvelde, J. T. B., Galloway, K., Wood, R., Bertoldi, K., Walsh, C. J., (2014). Soft Fiber-reinforced Bending Actuators. IEEE Transactions on Robotics, 31(3), 778-789. [pdf]
Roche, E. T., Wohlfarth, R., Overvelde, J. T. B., Vasilyev, N. V., Pigula, F.A., Mooney, D. J., Bertoldi, K., Walsh, C.J., (2014). Bioinspired Soft Actuated Materials. Advanced Materials, 26(8), 1200-1206. [Research Highlight in Nature Materials] [News & Views in Nature Materials] [NRC Handelsblad] [Harvard News] [cover] [pdf]