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New Healing of Bone Injuries

Patent

US10113537

Owner

EPFL

Filing Date

April 08, 2016

Priority Date

April 08, 2016

Portfolio

Stiffness Device - EPFL

Intro

Soft hardware technologies are increasingly used in devices intended for tasks requiring high dexterity or conformabilities such as manipulation, rehabilitation and surgical operations. However, material compliance can become a limiting factor of situations that require exertion or withstanding of substantial forces such as weight support or high contact forces.

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Claims

1. A thread-like variable stiffness device, comprising: a core including a low melting point alloy; an encapsulation surrounding the core, the encapsu...
  1. A thread-like variable stiffness device, comprising: a core including a low melting point alloy; an encapsulation surrounding the core, the encapsulation made of an elastic material and sealing the core; and a heating device arranged around the encapsulation, configured to heat the core, wherein the elastic material of the encapsulation is subject to a tensile stress in a direction along a longitudinal extension of the thread-like variable stiffness device.
  2. The variable stiffness device according to claim 1, wherein the core is shaped as a longitudinal rod, and the encapsulation is shaped as a tube that entirely encapsulates the core.
  3. The variable stiffness device according to claim 1, wherein the encapsulation is made of silicone.
  4. The variable stiffness device according to claim 1, wherein, in a stiff state, the low melting point alloy is in a solid state, and in a soft state, the low melting point alloy is in a liquid state.
  5. The variable stiffness device according to claim 1, wherein the heater includes a conductive wire that is wound around the core.
  6. The variable stiffness device according to claim 1, wherein the low melting point alloy is subject to a compressive stress in the direction along the longitudinal extension of the thread-like variable stiffness device.
  7. A method of manufacturing a variable stiffness device, comprising the steps of: heating a low melting point alloy to put the low melting point alloy in a liquid state; pulling the low melting point alloy in the liquid state inside a longitudinal tubular elastic encapsulation by a suction force; cooling the low melting point alloy inside the elastic encapsulation to put the low melting point alloy in a solid state; applying a tensile force to the elastic encapsulation to stretch the elastic encapsulation tube in a longitudinal direction by a certain percentage; and sealing both ends of the elastic encapsulation in a stretched state to seal the low melting point allow inside the elastic encapsulation.
  8. The method according to claim 6, wherein in the step of pulling, the suction force is generated by a syringe.
  9. The method according to claim 6, further comprising the step of:
    winding a conductive filament around an outer wall of the elastic encapsulation to provide a heating device.
  10. The method according to claim 6, wherein the step of applying the tensile force stretches the elastic encapsulation in a range between 10% and 100% from its initial, unstretched shape.
  11. An actuator, comprising: a tubular body with an interior chamber; and a plurality of variable stiffness devices, each of the variable stiffness devices including, a core including a low melting point alloy; a tubular encapsulation surrounding the core, the encapsulation made of an elastic material and sealing the core; and a heating device arranged around the encapsulation, configured to heat the core, wherein the elastic material of the encapsulation is subject to a tensile stress in a direction along a longitudinal extension of the thread-like variable stiffness device, and wherein the plurality of variable stiffness devices are arranged in parallel and are attached to the tubular body, and are also arranged in parallel with a longitudinal extension of the tubular body.
  12. The actuator according to claim 10, further comprising: reinforcement rings that are circumferentially arranged around the tubular body, wherein the interior chamber of the tubular body is pressurized.
  13. The actuator according to claim 10, further comprising: a control device configured to control a stiffness of the plurality of variable stiffness devices individually.
     

 

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Abstract

A variable stiffness device, including a core including a low melting point alloy, an encapsulation surrounding the core, the encapsulation made of an...
A variable stiffness device, including a core including a low melting point alloy, an encapsulation surrounding the core, the encapsulation made of an elastic material and sealing the core, and a heating device arranged around the encapsulation, configurated to heat the core, wherein the elastic material of the encapsulation is subject to a tensile stress in a direction along a latitudinal extension of the thread-like variable stiffness device. 
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