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)