Characterization of Artificial Muscles Using Image Processing
Artificial muscles are bio-inspired devices formed by several layers of conducting polymers. These devices have the ability of transform electrical energy into mechanical energy through an electrochemical reaction, which is produced by an oxidation or reduction of the polymer due to an electric current. Since the device have a strip shape, this reaction results in a macroscopic swelling and shrinking movement. This movement is similar to the biological muscles and it has several applications as motor prostheses and as part of complex biomaterials. In this paper we describe a computer vision system developed to analyze and characterize these devices through their cycle of life. The method includes cameras for tracking the movement of the muscle from different angles and a set of algorithms to characterize the motion of the device through its use. By means of active contours it is determined the instantaneous position of the muscle in the space. From these contours other parameters like the parametric motion and energy of curvature are calculated. These data are compared with the physical parameters of the device, like the tension and energy consumption, providing a way for performing automatic testing on the research of artificial muscles.
KeywordsConducting Polymer Active Contour Deformable Model Artificial Muscle Computer Vision System
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