Electroactive polymer transducers have many features that are desirable for various devices. An especially attractive type of electroactive polymer is dielectric elastomer (DE). Our recent progress is a DE actuator having only 0.1 g of DE that lifted a weight of 2 kg using carbon system electrodes. We also developed a ribbon form DE actuator having a sensor function that can be used to measure force, or pressure, as well as motion at the same time. This actuator can assist human and robot motions. At the same time, it can work as a motion feedback sensor. We hope that it may be useful for smart rehabilitation equipment for hands, legs, and fingers. DE has also been shown to operate in reverse as a generator. Experiments have been performed on portable DE generators/wearable generators powered by human motion, ocean wave power harvesters mounted on buoys, solar heat generators, and water turbines. While the power output levels of such demonstration devices is small, the performance of these devices has supported the potential benefits of DE. We are developing elastomers having larger dielectric constant using barium titanium oxide to produce a “super artificial muscle for energy harvesting devices, actuators & sensors” in the near future.
S. A. Chiba et al., "Elastomer Transducers", Advances in Science and Technology, Vol. 97, pp. 61-74, 2017