A Bio-Inspired Robot Using Electro-Conjugate Fluid
Kenichiro Tokida*1, Akihiro Yamaguchi*1, Kenjiro Takemura*2,
Shinichi Yokota*3, and Kazuya Edamura*4
*1Graduate School of Science and Technology, Keio University, 3-14-1 Hiyoshi Kouhoku-ku, Yokohama, Japan
*2Department of Mechanical Engineering, Keio University, Japan
*3Precision and Intelligence Laboratory, Tokyo Institute of Technology, R2-41, 4259 Nagatsuta-cho, Midori-ku, Yokohama, Japan
*4New Technology Management Co., Ltd., 2-9-1-306 Higashi-shinkoiwa, Katsushika-ku, Tokyo 124-0023, Japan
Electro-Conjugate Fluid (ECF) is a kind of functional fluid that produces a jet flow (ECF jet) when subjected to high DC voltage. A strong ECF jet is known to be generated in a nonuniform electric field, for example, a field with a pair of needle and ring electrodes. This study introduces the ECF jet in developing a novel bio-inspired robot. We first propose the concept of a robot driven by an ECF jet. The robot is mainly composed of ECF jet generators (a micro fluid pressure source), fiber-reinforced rubber actuators, a built-in spring actuator, and an ECF tank. We next investigate the characteristics of the ECF jet generator, the fiberreinforced rubber actuator, and the built-in spring actuator. As a result, we confirmed that the maximum pressure and flow rate of the ECF jet generator are 32.0 kPa and 27.0 ml/min, respectively, and that the actuators could be driven by the ECF jet. We then developed a bio-inspired robot and demonstrated that the robot could move in a 14 mm diameter acrylic half pipe with 0.6 mm/s, and in a 14 mm diameter acrylic pipe with 0.5 mm/s. The robot is 300 mm long with a mass of 26 g.
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