Research Topic

Soft Robotics based on Electroactive Polymers

About this Research Topic

Conventional robotics using rigid structural elements and high-torque motors have enabled great progress in automated assembly and manufacturing. An increasing number of robots need to interact safely with humans, manipulate soft and delicate objects or need to move in difficult environments. Soft robotics is a rapidly growing field as compliant robots are capable of sustaining large deformation while maintaining structural compliance, allowing safe operation with people and adaptation to many tasks.

Most soft robots rely on pneumatic actuation, but this requires a compressor or pump. Electroactive polymers (EAPs) are smart soft materials capable of changing sizes and/or shapes in direct response to electrical stimuli. They allow combining actuator, sensor and structure in one single material. For these reasons, soft robotic systems with EAPs (ionic EAPs and Dielectric Elastomer Actuators) have gained great attention. However, the inherent large deformation, compliance and electromechanical nonlinearity lead to the grand challenge of design, fabrication, modeling and control of EAP-based soft robots.

This Research Topic focuses on reporting recent efforts in EAPs and integrated applications of soft robotic systems, including soft actuators, sensors, robots and mechatronic systems. Manuscripts can contain both theoretical and practical/experimental results. Contributions should address state-of-the-art design, fabrication, modeling and control of soft robots based on EAPs.

The research topics of interest include but are not limited to:
• Design and fabrication of EAP-based soft robotic components and systems
• Novel electroactive materials for soft robotics
• Soft actuators and sensors
• Soft and bioinspired robots
• Stretchable and flexible power sources and electronics for soft robotics
• Soft or compliant mechanisms for soft robotics
• Dynamic modeling and simulation of EAP-based soft robotic systems
• Control and self-sensing techniques in EAP-based soft robotic systems
• Applications of EAP-based soft robotic systems.


Keywords: Electroactive Polymers, Soft Robots, Soft Actuators, Soft Sensors, Dielectric Elastomer Actuator


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Conventional robotics using rigid structural elements and high-torque motors have enabled great progress in automated assembly and manufacturing. An increasing number of robots need to interact safely with humans, manipulate soft and delicate objects or need to move in difficult environments. Soft robotics is a rapidly growing field as compliant robots are capable of sustaining large deformation while maintaining structural compliance, allowing safe operation with people and adaptation to many tasks.

Most soft robots rely on pneumatic actuation, but this requires a compressor or pump. Electroactive polymers (EAPs) are smart soft materials capable of changing sizes and/or shapes in direct response to electrical stimuli. They allow combining actuator, sensor and structure in one single material. For these reasons, soft robotic systems with EAPs (ionic EAPs and Dielectric Elastomer Actuators) have gained great attention. However, the inherent large deformation, compliance and electromechanical nonlinearity lead to the grand challenge of design, fabrication, modeling and control of EAP-based soft robots.

This Research Topic focuses on reporting recent efforts in EAPs and integrated applications of soft robotic systems, including soft actuators, sensors, robots and mechatronic systems. Manuscripts can contain both theoretical and practical/experimental results. Contributions should address state-of-the-art design, fabrication, modeling and control of soft robots based on EAPs.

The research topics of interest include but are not limited to:
• Design and fabrication of EAP-based soft robotic components and systems
• Novel electroactive materials for soft robotics
• Soft actuators and sensors
• Soft and bioinspired robots
• Stretchable and flexible power sources and electronics for soft robotics
• Soft or compliant mechanisms for soft robotics
• Dynamic modeling and simulation of EAP-based soft robotic systems
• Control and self-sensing techniques in EAP-based soft robotic systems
• Applications of EAP-based soft robotic systems.


Keywords: Electroactive Polymers, Soft Robots, Soft Actuators, Soft Sensors, Dielectric Elastomer Actuator


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

20 July 2019 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

20 July 2019 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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