Robots have been proposed to relieve human beings from dangerous environments or tedious manufacturing processes, or mimic human beings or animals in appearance, behaviour, and/or cognition. Most of traditional robots use hard materials. Inspired by natural creatures, researchers recently become more and more interested in soft robots, which are made of soft materials, say polymers. To exploit animal-like locomotion and behaviour, it is essential to develop muscle-like actuators with properties close to biological systems.
We currently employ dielectric elastomers - one class of soft active materials - as artificial muscles to investigate bio-inspired soft robots. A dielectric elastomer actuator can deform in response to voltage, and can exhibit unique attributes, including large voltage-induced deformation, fast response, low weight, quiet operation, etc. In this seminar I will discuss several soft actuators/robots which are developed based on dielectric elastomers, such as a jellyfish robot, artificial muscles for facial expressions, an inchworm-like robot, etc.
Researcher of AIRS, Associate Professor of The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen
Dr. Zhu Jian will join the AIRS (as a research scientist), and the CUHK, SZ (as an associate professor) soon. Before that, he was an assistant professor at the National University of Singapore. He received a Ph.D. degree in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Alberta, Canada in 2008, and then worked as a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University, USA. His current research interests focus on soft robots, soft active materials, and smart materials and structures.