Samsung Electronics Publishes Nature Communications Article on Multifunctional Artificial Muscle Actuator – Samsung Global Newsroom

Samsung Electronics’ research in collaboration with Ajou University demonstrates the next-generation multifunctional artificial muscle actuator

Samsung Electronics announced today that Dr. Bongsu Shin (co-first author) of Samsung Research1 published an article entitled “Actuation of compact wearable augmented reality devices by a multifunctional artificial muscle” in the world-renowned journal ‘Nature Communications.’

This project was carried out in collaboration with the Mechanical Engineering team from the University of Ajou, led by Professor Je-Sung Koh (corresponding author) based in Korea. The joint research team has developed an artificial muscle actuator that can be used on augmented reality (AR) glasses and naturally adapt to haptic gloves.

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With the growing popularity of the metaverse, actuator and sensor technologies are rapidly evolving to create an even more immersive experience in virtual worlds. Actuators and sensors embedded in wearable devices must be compact and lightweight because the devices are carried by users and often require mobility. The conventional actuator had some limitations in realizing more advanced functionality, as a thin form factor and high power density would be difficult to achieve for conventional types.

The research team proposes an artificial muscle actuator that solves practical engineering challenges that are limited to conventional types such as electromagnetic actuators. An artificial muscle actuator can act as a small, powerful actuation system with sensing capability to develop wearable devices such as multifocal AR glasses and naturally fitting haptic gloves. The research team designed a lightweight and powerful shape-memory alloy (SMA) muscle actuator, called the Conformal Amplified SMA Actuator (CASA). The newly developed version is light (0.22 g), but strong enough to lift a weight 800 times heavier than itself.

“This new actuator we are offering is light, compact, yet powerful in terms of strength to weight ratio. Significantly, the new actuator has overcome the limitations of conventional actuators while bringing the potential of its wide applications just from robotics to wearable devices,” said Dr. Bongsu Shin of Samsung Research. “We expect the result of our latest research to be the core hardware technology for a more immersive and interactive experience for the next generation.”

The team also demonstrated how the actuator enables image depth control. Binary depth shift is adopted to reduce Vergens Accomodation Conflict (VAC), which may cause eye strain for some AR glasses wearers, by directly adjusting the distance between the screen and the optical system of the AR glasses prototype depending on the focal distance of the object. . to project.

In addition, non-vibrating mechanotactile outputs are important to generate natural and expressive tactile sensations on the skin through haptic devices. To convey the sensation of large skin deformation, haptic devices require actuators with a high force-to-weight ratio and large displacement. Combining multiple actuators within the limited area of ​​the haptic device prototype also enables more expressive tactile experiences.

CASA triggers an action on an object with pressure and measures pressure without a sensor using an artificial muscle function whose electrical resistance varies in response to external pressure. The CASA-equipped haptic glove prototype is so thin and pressure-sensitive that it has the potential to be used in telehaptics, which recognizes expressions made by the tactile writing system and converts them into electrical signals.

1 Samsung Research, which serves as Samsung Electronics’ advanced R&D center, leads the development of future technologies for the company’s Device eXperience (DX) division.

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