Inderscience Publishers

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

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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.

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