About this Research Topic
Soft actuators are devices based on soft materials whose size or shape can change in response to various stimuli such as thermal, electrical, light, magnetic, and chemical. When compared to conventional actuators, soft actuators have advantages such as lightness, flexibility, structural simplicity and ease of molding. Therefore, they are expected to have many emerging applications in important biomedical devices, for example in portable electronic devices and MEMS. Initial research on soft actuators aimed to directly transform various energy forms to mechanical work using polymer gels. One of the main purposes of these original studies were to mimic bio-muscles, that is, to develop artificial muscles. After a decade of study, research on soft actuators using various artificial soft materials, including conducting polymers, elastomers, polymer gels, and stretching or flexible electrode materials, has been conducted using a variety of energy sources including electric, pneumatic, chemical, thermal, and optical, among others. The development of these soft actuators in the field of biomedicine for use in bionic implants, limb prosthetics, and tactile display, is now in progress. Furthermore, research on soft actuators based on bio-materials is a new and emerging field which opens the door to new biomedical applications.
This research topic intends to publish contributions on current ideas and novel concepts for the advancement in the field of soft actuators; we will review and provide an overview of the state-of-the-art and propose directions for future perspectives in this research field. Contributions on new approaches in developing materials, devices, control methods and mechanical modeling of soft actuators, as well as specific examples of the applications, are highly welcome. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:
• Materials of soft actuators driven by various energy sources including thermal, electrical, light, magneto-driven, etc.
• Modeling of soft actuators
• Applications of soft actuators
• Bio-materials for soft actuators
Keywords: Soft Materials, Stretching Electrodes, Biomimetics, Soft Robotics, Artificial Muscles
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