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Dielectric elastomers, a class of electro active polymers, have found applications in a vast array of fields such as soft robotics, haptic devices, biomedical devices, energy harvesting, tunable lenses, soft sensing, microfluidics, and textile electronics. This work explores the multifaceted domain of dielectric elastomers, encompassing physics-based modeling, state boundary avoidance control for safety assurance and real time control, and diverse applications including a dielectric elastomer-enabled cuff device, and a prosthetic finger. The first section delves into the intricate physics-based modeling techniques employed to simulate the behavior of dielectric elastomers under various conditions. In particular, a tubular dielectric actuator is discussed. By leveraging fundamental principles of electromechanics and material science, researchers have developed sophisticated models that enhance our understanding of the material’s response to electrical stimuli. The second focal point of this work is the implementation of state boundary avoidance control for ensuring the internal state safety of dielectric elastomer-based devices. As these materials can undergo substantial deformations in response to electric fields, preventing undesired states and ensuring controlled actuation is crucial. A state boundary avoidance control strategy is discussed as an effective mechanism to mitigate potential risks and enhance the reliability of dielectric elastomer systems. The work also highlights two innovative applications of dielectric elastomer technology. Firstly, a dielectric elastomer-enabled cuff device is presented, showcasing the material’s potential in wearable technology for therapeutic or assistive purposes. Secondly, the development of a dielectric elastomer-enabled prosthetic finger is explored, emphasizing the adaptability and precision achievable through the integration of these materials in bioengineering applications. Finally, the work provides a concise summary of the discussed topics and outlines potential future directions in dielectric elastomer research. Considerations for further advancements in modeling techniques, safety assurance protocols, and novel applications are addressed. The integration of dielectric elastomers into diverse fields holds promise for transformative technological advancements, with ongoing research poised to unlock new possibilities and refine existing applications.



Dielectric Elastomer, Physics based modeling, Safety Control, Enhancing Blood Flow, Dielectric Prosthetic Finger


Portions of this document appear in: Kaaya, T., Wang, S., Cescon, M. et al. Physics-lumped parameter based control oriented model of dielectric tubular actuator. Int J Intell Robot Appl 6, 397–413 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s41315-021-00211-1; and in: T. Kaaya, R. J. Venkatraman, D. Koc and Z. Chen, "Modeling and Control of Dielectric Elastomer Enabled Cuff Device for Enhancing Blood Flow at Lower Limbs," in IEEE Transactions on Automation Science and Engineering, doi: 10.1109/TASE.2023.3325617.