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