CORDIS - EU research results

Development of Soft, Efficient, Powerful, and Rapid Artificial Muscles for the Design of a Soft Wearable Haptic Exoskeleton

Project description

Addressing actuator barriers for soft haptic devices

The rapid advancement and development in soft robotics is bringing new hope for various solutions. These include the soft wearable haptic exoskeletons that enable precision and safety through automation to assist people in very complex, hard or hazardous tasks in fields like medicine or agriculture. Unfortunately, the key actuation systems in this area, responsible for moving and controlling the mechanisms/systems, still lack satisfactory solutions. To overcome present limitations, the EU-funded M-SCPA project will develop a novel type of soft actuator, the M-SCPA, by combing new magnetoactive (M-) polymeric fibre and a helical structure inspired by supercoiled polymer actuators technology. A demonstration of the new soft wearable haptic device and feedback study will follow.


Soft robotics is a growing research field promising to apply automation to new areas of our societies such as medicine, agriculture and exploration. However, since soft robotics is a relatively recent research field, many fundamental components of soft robots still demonstrate disappointing capabilities. Indeed, actuation is one of the most vital requirement of robots but it is yet to be solved adequately.
This proposal describes the development and characterization of a new soft actuator. We call these innovative soft actuator “M-SCPAs”, as they are inspired by recent advances in Magnetoactive polymeric fiber (MAEs) and Supercoiled Polymer Actuators (SCPAs). M-SCPAs will be manufacThis proposal aims at creating a new type of soft actuator. Soft actuators are a key component of the soft robotics research field, with applications in medical, agricultural or wearable technologies. We propose to use “M-SCPAs”, named after the 2 key distinct concepts used in their design.
-The first key concept is the use of a magnetoactive (M-) polymeric fiber. Inspired by recent advances in magnetoactive materials, we propose to embed strongly magnetized ferromagnetic particles within an extruded polymer fiber. When exposed to a magnetic field, the particles will internally pivot, and the fiber contract.
-The second key concept is the use of an helical structure similar to the one used by “Supercoiled Polymer Actuators” (SCPAs). The twisting of a polymeric fiber creates a three-dimensional structure akin to a typical steel spring. From this structure is derived inherent softness, convenient form factor, as well as increased contractile capabilities.
The proposal details the combination of these two ideas to create a new type of actuator overcoming each of the respective original actuators limitations. The proposal also proposes the demonstration of these actuators through the manufacture of a soft wearable haptic device powered and its subsequent use in an haptic feedback study.


Net EU contribution
€ 191 149,44
1015 Lausanne

See on map

Schweiz/Suisse/Svizzera Région lémanique Vaud
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 191 149,44