Innovative development kit for DEAs with battery-free control

05-01-2024 | BSC Computer GmbH | Test & Measurement

BSC Computer offers its BSCiDEA Development Kit for Dielectric Elastomer Actuators (DEA). This innovative kit, set to debut at CES in Las Vegas in January 2024, is created to empower innovation managers and developers, allowing them to assess the mechatronic capabilities of DEA stack actuators and initiate their own developments for integrating these actuators.

Dielectric elastomers represent a potential game-changer in the realm of IoT actuators. Unlike conventional electric motors, these elastomers operate with minimal energy consumption and exhibit remarkable resilience to environmental factors like temperature and vibration. The development kit is poised to provide the linear actuator and an electronic control unit with a web interface and IoT connectivity. Also, it includes a battery-free EnOcean wireless switch for effortless, "plug and play" operation. The development kit will be unveiled at CES in Las Vegas in January 2024, marking the dawn of a new era in mechatronics. This kit enables comprehensive evaluation and quick prototyping of innovative mechatronic solutions.

Key features of the kit include core component: DEA stack actuators (10mm x 10mm x 20mm) from Daetwyler capable of up to 2mm movement with a force of up to 20N; evaluation board with real-time movement display at a 5:1 scale and adjustable external force application for easy testing; electronic control unit with integrated Wi-Fi and EnOcean radio interface and a separate high-voltage power supply; battery-free EnOcean radio switch for seamless actuation of the development kit; and web interface for convenient control and parameter adjustment via smartphone, tablet, or PC, including end positions, dynamic movement, and waypoint control (0-100%).

The world of IoT is increasingly focused on data collection, storage, and processing. With advancements in communication technology and energy harvesting methods, AI is making its presence felt in various applications. However, conventional designs involving electric motors and complex gears remain energy-intensive and complex regarding actuators. The development kit is set to transform this landscape by delivering a low-energy alternative that doubles as a sensor, making it an excellent choice for innovative mechatronic IoT solutions such as locks, wearables, valves, and robotics. The company has collaborated with the Swiss industrialisation partner Daetwyler for the series production of DEA stack actuators and materials manufacturer Momentive Performance Materials to explore low-power electronics solutions for dielectric elastomer actuators.

Jörg Hofmann, managing partner of BSC Computer, expressed his enthusiasm for the BSCiDEA Development Kit, saying, "With our BSCiDEA Development Kit, we are bringing dielectric elastomers into real-world IoT projects. We are excited about the possibilities of battery-free IoT systems and are expanding the ecosystem with maintenance-free actuator technology. With Daetwyler as a manufacturer of stack actuators in unique patented stacking design and Momentive as a supplier of innovative silicone elastomer materials, we are well-equipped to support product manufacturers in implementing their innovations with sustainable motion."

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By Seb Springall