The robotics industry has seen an exponential growth in the past decade strongly assisted by significant research interest in technology development to make robots that are solid, robust, fast, and accurate. However, with an ever-changing landscape for new material innovation inspired by biological processes, there is a new array of distinctly superior robots that have found market attractiveness. Soft robots made from smart materials that can change shape and offer sensory functionalities have been developed for applications such as medical prosthetics, equipment for invasive surgical procedures, material handling robots among others. Electro-active polymers (EAPs) and shape memory alloys (SMAs) are the two widely researched materials that have the ability to offer desirable actuation control with sensing capabilities. In this TOE, we have profiled recent innovations in material technologies that aim to improve mechanical properties and elasticity of materials that are capable of mimicking functions of natural musculature with high power.
The High-Tech Materials TechVision Opportunity Engine (TOE) provides intelligence on technologies, products, processes, applications, and strategic insights on various materials across industries. Some material technologies include lightweight materials, bio–based materials, ceramics, smart materials, fibers, nanomaterials, responsive materials, polymers, woven and non woven materials, polymers and plastics and packaging materials.
The Materials and Coatings cluster tracks research and innovation trends and developments across specialty chemicals, plastics, polymers, chemicals, bio-chemicals, metals, coatings, thinfilms, surface treatments, composites, alloys, oil and gas, fuel additives, fibers, and several other related technologies and its impact and application across industries.
Keywords: artificial muscle, soft robot, actuator, shape memory alloy, electro-active polymer