Associate Professor Benjamin Shapiro (AE/ISR) and Associate Professor Elisabeth Smela (ME) are co-inventors of U.S. Patent 7,523,608, "Electrically Driven Microfluidic Pumping for Actuation." The patent was issued on April 28, 2009.
The invention is an actuation apparatus and method utilizing electrically driven fluidic pumping for generating large stresses and strains. The actuator cell includes a supply chamber containing fluid, and an expansion chamber that receives fluid from the supply chamber and can deform a predetermined area of the actuator cell. The actuator cell also includes a channel that provides a fluid flow passage between the supply and expansion chambers, and a compliant material substantially surrounding the supply chamber, the expansion chambers. This causes fluid flow from the supply to the expansion chamber.
May 5, 2009