Title: Development of small-sized flexible pneumatic valve using vibration motor and its application for wearable actuator

Authors: Tetsuya Akagi, Shujiro Dohta, Shinichi Katayama

Addresses: Department of Intelligent Mechanical Engineering, Okayama University of Science, 1-1 Ridai-cho, Kita-ku, Okayama 700 0005, Japan. ' Department of Intelligent Mechanical Engineering, Okayama University of Science, 1-1 Ridai-cho, Kita-ku, Okayama 700 0005, Japan. ' SMC Corporation, Akihabara UDX15F, 4-14-1, Sotokanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 101 0021, Japan

Abstract: Owing to the recent ageing and decreasing birth rate, providing nursing care to the elderly has become very crucial. As a result, it is necessary to develop wearable systems to aid in nursing care. To realise such a system, we require not only wearable soft actuators, but also a compact and flexible control valve. The purpose of our study is to develop a flexible, lightweight and compact control valve which can be safely attached to the human body. In this study, we proposed and tested a new type of control valve that consists of a vibration motor and a check valve. By giving continuous vibration, the valve can be kept open. As a result, we find that the valve can control a larger flow rate relative to its weight and size. We also apply the control device to a wearable actuator in the form of a McKibben artificial muscle.

Keywords: wearable control devices; small-sized control valves; vibration motors; flexible actuators; flexible pneumatic valves; wearable actuator; wearable devices; nursing care; healthcare; check valves; flow rate; artificial muscle.

DOI: 10.1504/IJCAT.2010.034735

International Journal of Computer Applications in Technology, 2010 Vol.39 No.1/2/3, pp.86 - 92

Published online: 18 Aug 2010 *

Full-text access for editors Access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article