Journal article

Design and control of a low profile electromagnetic actuator for foldable pop-up mechanisms

Thin foldable origami mechanisms bring miniaturization and reconfiguration of complex structures allowing large volumetric change, low cost and versatility. Many applications require small robots with multiple capabilities including movement, sensing and communication. One of the major design constraints in these systems is miniaturization, in particular actuator down-scaling. To meet the challenges, researchers have focused both on investigating designs that use high power to size ratio actuators as well as defining novel fabrication methods that aid reduced size component integration. This paper presents a novel approach for designing and controlling a low profile electromagnetic (EM) actuation system that can provide high speeds and easy control. Additionally, the system can be embedded in miniaturized foldable mechanisms. We report here the modelling of the low-profile EM actuator and the design methodology; further, the fabrication of a 3-cm wide, 1.4 mm thick prototype and real case scenario testing were executed. Our extensive test results verify the position control performance and validate the thermo-mechanical model in terms of expected steady state temperature and dependency by actuation frequency.


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