Humans throughout history have always sought to mimic the appearance, mobility, functionality, intelligent operation, and thinking process of biological creatures. The emergence of biologically inspired technologies, i.e. biomimetics, has made it increasingly easier to develop robots with such capabilities.
Some of the technologies that have evolved include artificial muscles, artificial intelligence, and artificial vision to which significant advancements in materials science, mechanics, electronics, and computing science have contributed greatly.
One of the newest fields is the artificial muscles, which is the moniker for electroactive polymers (EAP). To take advantage of these materials, efforts are made worldwide to establish a strong infrastructure ranging from analytical modeling and comprehensive understanding of their response mechanism to effective processing and characterization techniques.
The field is still in its emerging state and robust materials are still not readily available however in recent years significant progress has been made and commercial products have already started to appear on the market. This paper covers the current state-of-the-art and challenges to making artificial muscles and their potential application to biomimetic robots.
Author: Daniel A. Kingsley