KIYOSU, Japan—Toyoda Gosei Co. unveiled its "next-generation" e-rubber at the second RoboDEX technical exhibition for the robotics industry, held Jan. 17-19 at Tokyo Big Sight.
E-Rubber is a rubber material that moves with electricity and mechanical force, Toyoda Gosei said in a news release. The automotive supplier is using the material to develop artificial muscles for robots—the soft actuators offering a new source of motive power to replace electromagnetic motors, tactile/pressure sensors and motion sensors.
The Japanese company envisions practical applications for e-rubber in robots for industry, health care and other fields to support aging societies.
Central to the innovation is a slide-ring material: a polymer comprising nano-scale "necklace" of supramolecules, called polyrotaxanes. The supramolecular structure yields a light-weight material with high output, low energy-consumption, quietness, softness, and fast response, according to Toyoda Gosei.