High-power, low-cost, tactile actuation arrays enabled by soft microcombustion – Ronald Heisser

In our lab, we are conducting soft robotics research to develop a new high-density array mechanical actuation system. We have produced an initial proof-of-concept whereby fuel/oxygen mixtures are spark-ignited inside microliter-volume, silicone rubber combustion chambers, producing rapid actuation pulses int rubber membranes. The high energy and power density of the fuel produces a pulse powerful enough to lift small pins or bistable elements. The array is a thin, tough, conformable silicone sheet. The exceedingly simple manufacturing method allows for an arbitrarily large number of dots to be made at diminishing cell cost. Though our concept is unconventional, we believe that it deserves serious consideration for future multi-line braille and graphical displays.

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