Smart Thermally Actuating Textiles (STATs)

Implementations of STATs
Figure: (a) closed loop control of a STAT module with magnetic connections, (b) array of STATs exerting controlled forces to the external environment, (c) STATs contractile actuator implementation and use cases, (d) mechanotherapy wearables (e) smart cushions for bed sore prevention, and (F) dynamic fashion.

A team at the Harvard MRSEC led by Walsh, Wood, and Whitesides have developed smart thermally actuating textiles. By pairing liquid-vapor phase change actuation with a textile-based laminated manufacturing method, Smart Thermally Actuating Textiles (STATs) eliminate the need for a pneumatic tether making them lightweight and unobtrusive for wearable robotic applications. Through integrated sensing and heating elements, STATs demonstrate closed-loop feedback that enables dynamic pressure control in the presence of environmental temperature fluctuations. The team used analytical modeling and experimentation to demonstrate STATs behavior under different environmental conditions. A series of demonstrations devices were fabricated to illustrate the potential utility of STATs in real-world applications including mechanotherapy, medical therapeutics, and dynamic fashion.

Conor J. Walsh (BioEng/MatSci/MechEng), Robert J. Wood (Robotics), and George M. Whitesides (CCB)
2019-2020 Harvard MRSEC (DMR-1420570)