An Artificial Muscle Ring Oscillator
Dielectric elastomer artificialmuscles have great potential for the creation of novel pumps, motors, and circuitry. Control of these devices requires an oscillator, either as a driver or clock circuit, which is typically provided as part of bulky, rigid, and costly external electronics. Oscillator circuits based on piezo-resistive dielectric elastomer switch technology provide a way to embed oscillatory behavior into artificial muscle devices. Previous oscillator circuits were not digital, able to function without a spring mass system, able to self-start, or suitable for miniaturization. In this paper we present an artificial muscle ring oscillator that meets these needs. The oscillator can self-start, create a stable 1Hz square wave output, and continue to function despite degradation of the switching elements. Additionally, the oscillator provides a platform against which the performance of different dielectric elastomer switch materials can be benchmarked.