Stretchable pumps for soft machines

Vito Cacucciolo, Jun Shintake, Yu Kuwajima, Shingo Maeda, Dario Floreano, Herbert Shea

Research output: Contribution to journalLetter

Abstract

Machines made of soft materials bridge life sciences and engineering1. Advances in soft materials have led to skin-like sensors and muscle-like actuators for soft robots and wearable devices1–3. Flexible or stretchable counterparts of most key mechatronic components have been developed4,5, principally using fluidically driven systems6–8; other reported mechanisms include electrostatic9–12, stimuli-responsive gels13,14 and thermally responsive materials such as liquid metals15–17 and shape-memory polymers18. Despite the widespread use of fluidic actuation, there have been few soft counterparts of pumps or compressors, limiting the portability and autonomy of soft machines4,8. Here we describe a class of soft-matter bidirectional pumps based on charge-injection electrohydrodynamics19. These solid-state pumps are flexible, stretchable, modular, scalable, quiet and rapid. By integrating the pump into a glove, we demonstrate wearable active thermal management. Embedding the pump in an inflatable structure produces a self-contained fluidic ‘muscle’. The stretchable pumps have potential uses in wearable laboratory-on-a-chip and microfluidic sensors, thermally active clothing and autonomous soft robots.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)516-519
Number of pages4
JournalNature
Volume572
Issue number7770
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Aug 22

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

Cite this

Cacucciolo, V., Shintake, J., Kuwajima, Y., Maeda, S., Floreano, D., & Shea, H. (2019). Stretchable pumps for soft machines. Nature, 572(7770), 516-519. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-019-1479-6

Stretchable pumps for soft machines. / Cacucciolo, Vito; Shintake, Jun; Kuwajima, Yu; Maeda, Shingo; Floreano, Dario; Shea, Herbert.

In: Nature, Vol. 572, No. 7770, 22.08.2019, p. 516-519.

Research output: Contribution to journalLetter

Cacucciolo, V, Shintake, J, Kuwajima, Y, Maeda, S, Floreano, D & Shea, H 2019, 'Stretchable pumps for soft machines', Nature, vol. 572, no. 7770, pp. 516-519. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-019-1479-6
Cacucciolo V, Shintake J, Kuwajima Y, Maeda S, Floreano D, Shea H. Stretchable pumps for soft machines. Nature. 2019 Aug 22;572(7770):516-519. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-019-1479-6
Cacucciolo, Vito ; Shintake, Jun ; Kuwajima, Yu ; Maeda, Shingo ; Floreano, Dario ; Shea, Herbert. / Stretchable pumps for soft machines. In: Nature. 2019 ; Vol. 572, No. 7770. pp. 516-519.
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