Wall Portion Formed Of Flexible Material Patents (Class 92/90)
  • Patent number: 10792807
    Abstract: A soft robot having an integrated electrical component includes an expandable or collapsible body, the body comprising an inlet that is configured to communicate with a fluid source and a flexible strain limited layer secured to a portion of the expandable or collapsible body, wherein the strain limited layer includes at least one electrical component.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 7, 2018
    Date of Patent: October 6, 2020
    Assignee: President and Fellows of Harvard College
    Inventors: Joshua Aaron Lessing, Ramses V. Martinez, Alok Suryavamsee Tayi, Jason Ming Ting, George M. Whitesides
  • Patent number: 9993921
    Abstract: A soft robot having an integrated electrical component includes an expandable or collapsible body, the body comprising an inlet that is configured to communicate with a fluid source and a flexible strain limited layer secured to a portion of the expandable or collapsible body, wherein the strain limited layer includes at least one electrical component.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 21, 2015
    Date of Patent: June 12, 2018
    Assignee: President and Fellows of Harvard College
    Inventors: Joshua Aaron Lessing, Ramses V. Martinez, Alok Suryavamsee Tayi, Jason Ming Ting, George M. Whitesides
  • Patent number: 9850922
    Abstract: A soft actuator is described, including: a rotation center having a center of mass; a plurality of bucklable, elastic structural components each comprising a wall defining an axis along its longest dimension, the wall connected to the rotation center in a way that the axis is offset from the center of mass in a predetermined direction; and a plurality of cells each disposed between two adjacent bucklable, elastic structural components and configured for connection with a fluid inflation or deflation source; wherein upon the deflation of the cell, the bucklable, elastic structural components are configured to buckle in the predetermined direction. A soft actuating device including a plurality of the soft actuators and methods of actuation using the soft actuator or soft actuating device disclosed herein are also described.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 13, 2015
    Date of Patent: December 26, 2017
    Assignee: President and Fellows of Harvard College
    Inventors: Dian Yang, George M. Whitesides
  • Patent number: 9574583
    Abstract: A hydraulic servo-control of a servo-controlled gearbox provided with a hydraulic accumulator, having an outer housing and a piston that is slidable axially inside the outer housing and adapted to define a first variable-volume chamber for a gaseous material and a second variable-volume chamber for a control fluid under pressure; and at least one limit stop arranged at an open end of the outer housing which serve as a lower limit stop element; wherein the outer housing is provided with an upper limit stop element, which acts to limit the pressure value inside the first variable-volume chamber within a predetermined safety range.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 25, 2013
    Date of Patent: February 21, 2017
    Assignee: Magneti Marelli S.p.A.
    Inventors: Stefano Giorgini, Andrea Bersani, Luca Bovina
  • Patent number: 9440361
    Abstract: An apparatus has a first member and a second member that is movable relative to the first member. The apparatus also has an activation element connected to the first member. The activation element also is wrapped about at least a portion of the second member.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 28, 2013
    Date of Patent: September 13, 2016
    Inventor: Daniel Theobald
  • Patent number: 9017047
    Abstract: Primer apparatus and methods are described herein. An example primer apparatus includes a flexible body defining an internal chamber to be fluidly coupled to a fuel system. The body includes a first layer material having a low permeation characteristic to substantially prevent diurnal emissions from escaping the fuel system, a second layer material adjacent the first layer material having a relatively high resiliency compared to the first layer material to enable the body to return to an uncompressed shape when the body is deflected and released by a user, and a third layer material adjacent to the first layer material such that the first layer material is disposed between the second layer material and the third layer material and having a relatively high resiliency compared to the first layer material to enable the body to return to the uncompressed shape when the body is deflected and released by the user.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 28, 2011
    Date of Patent: April 28, 2015
    Assignee: Brunswick Corporation
    Inventor: Justin McCord Wireman
  • Patent number: 9010101
    Abstract: The invention is an accumulator system in which multiple elastomeric accumulators are attached in series or parallel in order to generate total differential pressure in excess of that generated in a non-series system. Also disclosed is a “stacked” accumulator system. The system stores energy when the accumulators deform from their original shape in response to the flow of a pressurized fluid. The stored energy is available for use when the fluid is released from the accumulators and the accumulators return to their original shape.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 30, 2012
    Date of Patent: April 21, 2015
    Assignee: Vanderbilt University
    Inventors: Eric J. Barth, Alexander V. Pedchenko, Wayne J. Book
  • Publication number: 20150070904
    Abstract: Soft pneumatic actuators based on composites consisting of elastomers with embedded sheet or fiber structures (e.g., paper or fabric) that are flexible but not extensible are described. On pneumatic inflation, these actuators move anisotropically, based on the motions accessible by their composite structures. They are inexpensive, simple to fabricate, light in weight, and easy to actuate. This class of structure is versatile: the same principles of design lead to actuators that respond to pressurization with a wide range of motions (bending, extension, contraction, twisting, and others). Paper, when used to introduce anisotropy into elastomers, can be readily folded into three-dimensional structures following the principles of origami; these folded structures increase the stiffness and anisotropy of the elastomeric actuators, while keeping them light in weight.
    Type: Application
    Filed: August 25, 2014
    Publication date: March 12, 2015
    Inventors: Ramses V. MARTINEZ, George M. WHITESIDES
  • Patent number: 8794938
    Abstract: The invention relates to a cylinder piston arrangement for an especially volumetric fluid pump or a fluid motor, preferably comprising at least one axial expansion tubular membrane piston defining at least one inner pulsating working chamber. A particular field of application for such pumps or motors is the operation thereof with fluids loaded with extraneous materials, especially abrasive granulated materials. Especially high-speed machines with high working pressures of between a few hundred to a thousand bar are required, the energetic and also volumetric degree of efficiency thus becoming highly important factors. The aim of the invention is therefore to create pumps or fluid motors which are characterized by high degrees of efficiency and long service lives. To this end, at least one clearance driving body (TK1) is actively connected to the pulsating working chamber (AR).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 11, 2007
    Date of Patent: August 5, 2014
    Inventor: Bernhard Frey
  • Publication number: 20140208937
    Abstract: A hydraulic actuator includes a tubular bladder having first and second ends, an expandable and collapsible sleeve provided on the tubular bladder, a fluid inlet fitting provided in fluid communication with the tubular bladder and at least one mechanical connection provided along the tubular bladder. The hydraulic actuator may have flexibility and an overall diameter of less than about 5 mm.
    Type: Application
    Filed: March 28, 2014
    Publication date: July 31, 2014
    Applicant: The Boeing Company
    Inventors: Christopher P. Henry, Sloan P. Smith
  • Publication number: 20130298759
    Abstract: An integrated mecatronic structure for a manipulator assembly with one or more degrees of mobility controlled by one or more actuators can impart to the manipulator assembly a motion activated by control means connected to actuation means, and can include at least one flexible unit consisting of at least one flexible element attached to at least one actuator. The actuator is a volume-change actuator associated with a closely related or local dedicated power unit, including a tank and/or an element for converting the supplied power into another form of energy, able to make the manipulator assembly portable.
    Type: Application
    Filed: September 30, 2011
    Publication date: November 14, 2013
    Inventors: Christine Rotinat-Libersa, Belen Solano, Javier Martin
  • Publication number: 20130247751
    Abstract: An expandable accumulator and reservoir assembly includes a housing defining an interior chamber configured to contain a working fluid therein. An expandable accumulator is positioned at least partially within the housing. The expandable accumulator includes at least one flexible member configured to be at least partially immersed in the working fluid contained within the interior chamber. A rigid support member is positioned in the interior chamber and outside of the expandable accumulator. The rigid support member has at least one aperture to allow passage of the working fluid. An additional flexible member is positioned outside the rigid support member and has perimeter portions sealed to the outside of the rigid support member. The additional flexible member defines a flexible boundary between a primary reservoir inside the additional flexible member and a separate secondary reservoir outside the additional flexible member.
    Type: Application
    Filed: March 20, 2012
    Publication date: September 26, 2013
    Applicant: ROBERT BOSCH GMBH
    Inventors: Simon J. Baseley, William P. Donohue
  • Publication number: 20130220111
    Abstract: A disclosed cryogenic refrigerator includes a cylinder, a displacer reciprocally moving inside the cylinder, and an elastic unit which is provided in at least one of a pair of end regions respectively including a pair of end portions within a range of a reciprocal motion of the displacer, accumulates an elastic force when the displacer approaches the end portion, and releases the elastic force when the displacer departs from the end portion.
    Type: Application
    Filed: January 31, 2013
    Publication date: August 29, 2013
    Applicant: SUMITOMO HEAVY INDUSTRIES, LTD.
    Inventor: SUMITOMO HEAVY INDUSTRIES, LTD.
  • Publication number: 20130192455
    Abstract: A pneumatic actuator is operable between an extended condition and a collapsed condition, and is capable of displacing a workpiece during movement between the extended and collapsed conditions. The pneumatic actuator can include a flex member (202) and a mounting base (204). The flex member can include a flexible wall (208) with a mounting bead (222). The mounting base can include a base portion (266) and a bead portion (268), and can be operatively connected along the flex member such the mounting bead is at least partially captured between the bead portion and the base portion. In this manner, a substantially fluid-tight seal can be formed and an actuator chamber can be at least partially defined between the flex member and the mounting base. An actuator support pad can receive and abuttingly engage at least a portion of the pneumatic actuator. A method of assembly is also included.
    Type: Application
    Filed: October 12, 2010
    Publication date: August 1, 2013
    Applicant: Firestone Industrial Products Company, LLC
    Inventor: Joshua R. Leonard
  • Patent number: 8434524
    Abstract: The invention is a combination accumulator and reservoir which stores energy when the accumulator deforms from its original shape in response to the flow of a pressurized fluid from the reservoir. The stored energy is returned when the fluid flow is reversed and the accumulator discharges the fluid and returns to its original shape. At least one part of the novelty of the invention is that the accumulator and the fluid reservoir reside in the same housing such that the volume of each varies inversely. Accordingly, the invention is more compact and weighs less than conventional accumulators. Another feature of the invention is that fluid is located around the bladder accumulator to lubricate contact between the bladder and sides of the reservoir.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 31, 2011
    Date of Patent: May 7, 2013
    Assignee: Vanderbilt University
    Inventors: Eric J. Barth, Alexander V. Pedchenko
  • Publication number: 20120313380
    Abstract: An energy storage system used to store energy is disclosed. The system uses compression, torsion, extension and/or leaf springs to store energy. Input energy is use to compress the springs through an apparatus. The potential energy in the compressed spring is used to run a generator, which provides power to the consumer.
    Type: Application
    Filed: June 11, 2012
    Publication date: December 13, 2012
    Inventor: Ronald S. Ogaz
  • Publication number: 20120216672
    Abstract: A small, flexible fluidic actuator is presented which may be of millimeter scale in size and made of suitable flexible materials such as silicone. A manufacturing method and two analytical models for the device along with experimental test results are also disclosed. The flexible fluidic actuator devices disclosed include multidirectional fluidic actuator joints providing independently controllable multi-directional actuation movement. The dynamic behaviour of the joints for various pressure loads was also characterized and described herein.
    Type: Application
    Filed: October 7, 2010
    Publication date: August 30, 2012
    Inventors: Carlo Menon, John Berring
  • Publication number: 20120167270
    Abstract: A clothing article for a foot including a sole including a sealed collapsible air cavity having disposed therein a return support for expanding a collapsed air cavity wherein the air cavity includes an outlet permitting a quantity of air to exit when the air cavity is collapsed; an upper, coupled to the sole, for covering a portion of the foot; an air-actuated active element coupled to the upper, the active element including a first mode and a second mode, the active element biased to the first mode and responsive to the quantity of air to transition from the first mode to the second mode; and a communication channel, coupled to the outlet and to the active element, for transferring the quantity of air from the air cavity to the active element.
    Type: Application
    Filed: December 21, 2011
    Publication date: July 5, 2012
    Inventor: Finn Alexander Strong
  • Patent number: 8123233
    Abstract: The invention relates to a clamping device, especially for releasably clamping a machine tool having a fixing element extending therefrom. The clamping device includes a deforming clamping element which acts on a clamping part with a clamping force in order to secure the fixing element to the clamping device. The deforming clamping element may also be controlled to act on the clamping part with a releasing force in order to release the fixing element from the clamping device. Both the clamping force and the releasing force result from the deformation of the deforming clamping element.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 17, 2006
    Date of Patent: February 28, 2012
    Inventor: Klaus Hofmann
  • Publication number: 20110165001
    Abstract: First and second structures are connected by helical fibers. The orientation between the first and second structures are changed, and by doing so, the positions of the helical fibers are correspondingly changed. The position of change of the helical fibers can be used for a pumping effect, or to change some other fluidic characteristics. One other fluidic characteristics, for example, may use the movement of the helical fibers as a valve.
    Type: Application
    Filed: February 7, 2011
    Publication date: July 7, 2011
    Inventors: Arash Kheradvar, Morteza Gharib, Anna Hickerson
  • Publication number: 20110079140
    Abstract: An expandable accumulator and reservoir assembly includes a reservoir defining an interior chamber containing working fluid therein and an expandable accumulator. The expandable accumulator includes an inner layer and an outer layer at least partially surrounding the inner layer. The inner layer includes a higher fracture strain than the outer layer. The accumulator is at least partially positioned in the reservoir and at least partially immersed in the working fluid contained within the interior chamber. The accumulator is configured to exchange working fluid with the reservoir.
    Type: Application
    Filed: October 4, 2010
    Publication date: April 7, 2011
    Applicant: ROBERT BOSCH GMBH
    Inventor: Simon J. Baseley
  • Publication number: 20110067563
    Abstract: An Extensile Fluidic Muscle Actuator (FMA) that changes the normal direction of force and motion, achieving compressive force generation and extensile motion output with just a small increase in friction, weight, and cost is disclosed. The motion conversion is accomplished by a pushrod that is attached to the inside end of one of the actuator's end fittings, and extends through the actuator body and slidably out through the other end fitting. The other end fitting is held stationary by a seal housing that contains a sealing element to retain internal fluid pressure as the actuator moves. A linear bearing may also be installed to keep the rod aligned and centered properly in the seal. Upon pressurization of the actuator, the flexible body of the actuator will expand radially, causing relative contractile motion between the two end fittings. However, as the two end fittings are drawn towards each other, the pushrod is extended.
    Type: Application
    Filed: November 29, 2010
    Publication date: March 24, 2011
    Inventors: Benjamin K.S. Woods, Norman M. Wereley, Curt Kothera, Shane M. Boyer
  • Patent number: 7837144
    Abstract: A fluid contact surface actuation system for a vehicle, including a first fluid contact surface constructed and arranged to act against a first fluid passing over the first fluid contact surface; and a first fluid actuator coupled to the first fluid contact surface to move the first fluid contact surface between a first position and a second position to enable control of the vehicle in a predetermined manner, the first fluid actuator having a first resilient bladder that receives a second fluid such that pressure of the second fluid moves the first bladder between a contracted configuration and an expanded configuration.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 11, 2006
    Date of Patent: November 23, 2010
    Assignees: Techno-Sciences, Inc., University of Maryland
    Inventors: Curt S. Kothera, Benjamin K. S. Woods, Jayant Sirohi, Norman M. Wereley, Peter C. Chen
  • Patent number: 7770508
    Abstract: A double-acting deformable fluid actuator with three chambers consists of three axisymmetrical coaxial membranes (10, 11 and 12), constrained by two end pieces (13 and 14) so as to identify three chambers, namely, an inner chamber (15), an intermediate chamber (16), and an outer chamber (17); each chamber is supplied with fluid under pressure through respective connectors (18, 19 and 20) set on one of the end pieces.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 10, 2005
    Date of Patent: August 10, 2010
    Assignee: Politecnico di Torino
    Inventors: Carlo Ferraresi, Walter Franco, Giuseppe Quaglia
  • Patent number: 7739915
    Abstract: A diaphragm is provided that includes a plurality of zonal portions that define reinforced and non-reinforced areas of the diaphragm. A first zonal portion extends from a marginal edge portion toward a central portion and is formed of a fabric material. A second zonal portion extends from the first zonal portion toward the central portion and is formed of an elastomer. A third zonal portion defines the central portion and is formed of a fabric material. The combination of reinforced and non-reinforced portions provides for a decrease in the radial tension (spring rate) of the diaphragm and helps prevent undesired changes to the flow control valve flow setpoint.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 19, 2008
    Date of Patent: June 22, 2010
    Assignee: Honeywell International Inc.
    Inventors: David Pantier, Todd Garrod, John Vasquez, Paul Banta, Dave Tornquist
  • Publication number: 20090301292
    Abstract: A fluidic artificial muscle actuator consisting of an inner elastic bladder surrounded by a braided filament sleeve and sealed off on either end with end fittings. Pressurization of the actuator produces force and/or motion through radial movement of the bladder and sleeve which forces the sleeve to move axially. Both contractile and extensile motions are possible depending on the geometry of the braided sleeve. The fluidic artificial muscle actuator is manufactured using a swaging process which plastically deforms swage tubes around the end fittings, braided sleeve, and pressure bladder, creating a strong mechanical clamping action that may be augmented with adhesive bonding of the components. The swaging system includes the swaging die and associated components which are used to plastically deform the swage tube during assembly of the actuator.
    Type: Application
    Filed: June 11, 2009
    Publication date: December 10, 2009
    Inventors: Curt Kothera, Norman M. Wereley, Benjamin K.S. Woods
  • Patent number: 7617874
    Abstract: A valve control system for a wellbore includes a fiber composite actuator functionally coupled to a valve operating member and means for controllably charging an interior of the actuator with fluid under pressure. A valve for a wellbore includes a valve stem and a valve seat associated with a valve body. The valve stem and valve seat are configured to enable fluid flow from an inlet port in the valve body to an outlet port in the valve body when the stem is moved from the seat. An axial contraction fiber composite actuator is functionally coupled to the valve stem. The valve includes means for controllably charging an interior of the actuator with fluid under pressure.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 13, 2007
    Date of Patent: November 17, 2009
    Assignee: Schlumberger Technology Corporation
    Inventor: Murat Ocalan
  • Patent number: 7387500
    Abstract: A pump formed from an asymmetric tube, which is pinched to form asymmetric forces, that pump fluid.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 20, 2004
    Date of Patent: June 17, 2008
    Assignee: California Institute of Technology
    Inventor: Morteza Gharib
  • Publication number: 20080123817
    Abstract: A volume change absorber simple in construction and wide in application range, an X-ray generator having such a volume change absorber, and an X-ray imaging apparatus having such an X-ray generator, are to be provided. The volume change absorber includes a rigid pipe-like member capable of being mounted in an airtight manner through a wall of a vessel into which liquid is sealed and a flexible tube having one end portion mounted so as to cover in an airtight manner an end portion of the portion of the pipe-like member which portion lies inside the vessel and also having an opposite end portion which is sealed in a crushed state.
    Type: Application
    Filed: June 29, 2007
    Publication date: May 29, 2008
    Inventor: Asghar Ali Farooqui
  • Publication number: 20080115662
    Abstract: A chemical liquid supplying apparatus can discharge chemical liquid with high accuracy and monitor a leakage of an incompressible medium from a region between a piston and a cylinder. A pump has a flexible tube for partitioning a pump chamber and a drive chamber, and the incompressible medium is supplied to the drive chamber by the piston reciprocating in a cylinder hole of the cylinder. A bellows cover is provided between the piston and the cylinder, and forms a seal chamber continuous to a sliding face of the piston. A seal-chamber pressure sensor is attached to the cylinder so as to detect the pressure of the incompressible medium for sealing enclosed in the seal chamber, and a deterioration degree of a seal member is determined by detecting the pressure in the seal chamber.
    Type: Application
    Filed: November 13, 2007
    Publication date: May 22, 2008
    Applicant: Koganei Corporation
    Inventor: Takeo Yajima
  • Patent number: 7344363
    Abstract: A liquid cooling system utilizing minimal size and volume enclosures, air pockets, compressible objects, and flexible objects is provided to protect against expansion of water-based solutions when frozen. In such a system, pipes, pumps, and heat exchangers are designed to prevent cracking of their enclosures and chambers. Also described are methods of preventing cracking in a liquid cooling system. In all these cases, the system must be designed to tolerate expansion when water is frozen.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 20, 2005
    Date of Patent: March 18, 2008
    Assignee: Cooligy Inc.
    Inventors: Mark Munch, Kenneth Goodson, David Corbin, Shulin Zeng, Thomas W. Kenny, James Gill Shook
  • Patent number: 7331273
    Abstract: A pneumatic actuator having a flexible plate, the flexible plate being made of a rigid flexible material. The pneumatic actuator further includes at least two elongate, flexible but poorly extensible pneumatic pressure ducts that are disposed side by side and are in parts connected to the flexible plate to which they are secured and on which they are arranged in such a manner that, when the pressure ducts are pressurized with compressed gas, tangential forces are generated parallel to the flexible plate causing said flexible plate to bend.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 17, 2003
    Date of Patent: February 19, 2008
    Assignee: Prospective Concepts AG
    Inventors: Laszlo Kerekes, Tina Moor
  • Patent number: 6952977
    Abstract: A robot is provided with a robot weight compensation device having at least one hose element including an internally pressurized gas-tight inner hose portion cooperating with a high tensile strength outer portion. The high tensile strength outer portion includes non-elongatable fibers oriented relative to an axis of the at least one hose element by an angle not equal to 0° and 90°. An outer flexible protective jacket covers the fibers. A first fixing element is fixed to a first end of the hose element. The fixing element is connected to a first part of the robot. A second fixing element is fixed to a second end of the hose element. The second fixing element is articulated to a second part of the robot being movable relatively to the first robot element.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 22, 2003
    Date of Patent: October 11, 2005
    Assignee: Kuka Roboter GmbH
    Inventor: Wolfgang Bohlken
  • Patent number: 6840152
    Abstract: A fluid power operable actuating device, which possesses a flexible contractible tube extending between two spaced head pieces, such flexible contractible tube being caused to expand radially when its inner space is subjected to fluid pressure and transmitting simultaneously axial forces, due to contraction, to the head pieces. The flexible contractible tube comprises an elastically deforming flexible tube body which has a special geometrical shape having a cross sectional outline on the inner periphery and/or the outer periphery of the flexible tube body which is non-circular and/or is in the form of several portions of the body of the flexible tube with properties of the material of the flexible tube body which are different from one another.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 10, 2001
    Date of Patent: January 11, 2005
    Assignee: Festo AG & Co.
    Inventors: Ansgar Kriwet, Bernd Lorenz
  • Patent number: 6807865
    Abstract: A pressure sensor having a radially tensioned diaphragm for measuring fluid pressure. The pressure sensor includes a first generally concave metal body member and a second generally concave metal body member, and a radially tensioned flexible metal diaphragm located therebetween that is tensioned by heating the sensor. The first and second body members are formed from a material having a coefficient of thermal expansion in the range of approximately 0.0000056 inch/inch/° F. to 0.0000064 inch/inch/° F. The diaphragm is formed from a precipitation hardening metal material having a coefficient of thermal expansion of approximately 0.0000060 inch/inch/° F. The first body member and the second body member are formed from a ferromagnetic metal material such that the first and second body members shield the diaphragm from magnetic fields which may otherwise cause movement of the diaphragm.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 4, 2002
    Date of Patent: October 26, 2004
    Assignee: Dwyer Instruments, Inc.
    Inventor: Terrence J. Troyer
  • Publication number: 20040107829
    Abstract: A fluidic actuator includes a central elastic tube with an interior bore and a surrounding sheath formed of braided fibers. End fittings are attached to the tube and sheath at first and second ends thereof and include a cap with a hollow cavity into which an end section of the tube and sheath are inserted and embedded in a hardened adhesive. The hardened adhesive seals off the ends of the tube and strongly bonds the fibers of the sheath to the end caps to provide strong mechanical connections. A fluid coupling may extend through one of the end caps to connection to an end of the tube, with an interior bore in the coupling in communication with the bore in the tube to allow fluid under pressure to be supplied to the interior of the tube. A liquid lubricant may be held in the fibers of the sheath to provide lubrication between the elastic tube and the fibers of the sheath to reduce wear and abrasion of the tube and extend the service life of the actuator.
    Type: Application
    Filed: August 8, 2003
    Publication date: June 10, 2004
    Inventors: Donald L. Davis, Jeffrey A. Carlson
  • Patent number: 6708808
    Abstract: A torque-transmitting mechanism has first and second housing members, which are interconnected by a plurality of friction members. The torque-transmitting mechanism also includes an apply piston, which has an apply head slidably disposed within one of the housings and a spring body portion, which is effective to urge the apply head out of engagement with the friction members. The apply head is urged into engagement with the friction members through the application of pressure to an apply chamber formed between the apply head, the spring body, and the one housing. Upon release of the pressure within the apply chamber, the spring body enforces retraction of the apply head and disengagement of the torque-transmitting mechanism.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 11, 2002
    Date of Patent: March 23, 2004
    Assignee: General Motors Corporation
    Inventor: Marc Andres
  • Patent number: 6679687
    Abstract: A pump formed from an asymmetric tube, which is pinched to form asymmetric forces, that pump fluid.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 3, 2001
    Date of Patent: January 20, 2004
    Assignee: California Institute of Technology
    Inventor: Morteza Gharib
  • Patent number: 6668659
    Abstract: In a load detecting device, a hermetically sealed sensor chamber is constituted by a sensor head, a bellows, a housing and a stem. A sensor chip for detecting pressure is housed in the sensor chamber that is filled up with liquid. When load is applied to the sensor head, the bellows contracts axially to vary pressure of the liquid. The sensor chip senses the pressure of the liquid so that the load applied to the sensor chamber is detected with higher detecting accuracy.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 1, 2001
    Date of Patent: December 30, 2003
    Assignee: Denso Corporation
    Inventors: Kenji Morikawa, Tetsuo Imamura
  • Patent number: 6666127
    Abstract: A hydraulically actuated artificial muscle for use with orthetic devices, prosthetic devices or as an actuator for other applications in medical or robotic devices. Working fluid is pumped between two expandable fluid-containing cells, which are complimentary active elements of the artificial muscle. This eliminates the need for a storage reservoir, thereby providing a self-contained, force efficient device. Each of the preferred embodiments described has one or more expandable fluid-containing cell defined by at least one flexible wall. The flexible walls are configured so as to have elastic properties that are limited to predefined directions of expansion and contraction.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 3, 2002
    Date of Patent: December 23, 2003
    Assignee: Muscle Tech Ltd.
    Inventor: Zalman Peles
  • Patent number: 6539987
    Abstract: The present disclosure provides a method of pressurizing enclosures having bi-stable valves. The valve has an invertible element having a port therethrough, and is converted from an open mode into a closed mode by a sudden change of pressure across the valve. The method is particularly suited for pressurization of enclosures en masse.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 4, 2002
    Date of Patent: April 1, 2003
    Inventor: Louis Dischler
  • Patent number: 6405533
    Abstract: Apparatus for compensating for positioning, pointing and/or orientation errors caused by deflections of structural members and components of a high performance machine or device and/or for reducing vibration inputs to such machine or device and/or for micro-positioning such machine or device so as to improve the operational performance of such machine or device. The apparatus utilizes one or more active-type actuators, such as piezoelectric ceramic type actuators, which are arranged in a predetermined manner relative to the machine or device. A servo control device operating in accordance with a predetermined algorithm may be utilized for controlling the actuators or, alternatively, the apparatus may operate in an open loop manner.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 10, 2000
    Date of Patent: June 18, 2002
    Assignees: Polytechnic University, Omnitek Research & Development, Inc.
    Inventors: Jahangir Rastegar, Farshad Khorrami
  • Publication number: 20010052287
    Abstract: A fluid actuating drive for relative translational movement of first and second structural parts has a housing filled with a pressurizing medium, which in its longitudinal direction, runs along a gap that separates the structural parts, and is connected therewith. The width of the gap is dependent upon the relative position of opposing side walls of the housing, which side walls can be moved against one another with a pressurizing agent for the relative movement of the structure, where the side walls are alternately connected to the first and second structural part across the gap.
    Type: Application
    Filed: February 26, 2001
    Publication date: December 20, 2001
    Inventors: Juan Perez, Martin Voglsinger
  • Patent number: 6305913
    Abstract: An apparatus and method for pressure processing a pumpable substance, such as a pumpable food product or slurry. In one embodiment, the apparatus includes a pressure vessel having an inlet valve toward one end and outlet valve toward the other end. A flexible bladder is coupled between the inlet and outlet valves for receiving the pumpable substance. The pressure vessel can further include a high-pressure inlet port for receiving high-pressure fluid that biases the membrane inwardly to pressure process the pumpable substance. The pumpable substance is then removed from the vessel through the outlet valve.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 13, 1999
    Date of Patent: October 23, 2001
    Assignee: Flow International Corporation
    Inventors: Mohamed A. Hashish, Chidambaram Raghavan, Olivier L. Tremoulet, Jr., Bruce M. Schuman
  • Patent number: 6254355
    Abstract: A pump formed from an asymmetric tube, which is pinched to form asymmetric forces, that pump fluid.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 18, 2000
    Date of Patent: July 3, 2001
    Assignee: California Institute of Technology
    Inventor: Morteza Gharib
  • Patent number: 6220145
    Abstract: A band controlled valve apparatus for controlling fluid flow from a source to a sink, including a base (12) having an upper surface and an aperture (16) extending from the upper surface through the base (12) allowing the flow of fluid from the source through the base (12) to the sink when the aperture (16) is not covered, an elongate flexible band (8) with a first portion (8a) in contact with the upper surface of the base (12) and a second portion (8b) extending forwardly of the first portion (8a) then upwardly and rearwardly above at least a part of the first portion (8a), the second portion (8b) being actuated to selectively move the second portion (8b) of the band (8) forwardly or rearwardly to cover or uncover, respectively, the aperture (16) with the first portion (8a) of the band (8) to thereby prevent or allow, respectively, fluid flow through the aperture (16).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 14, 1999
    Date of Patent: April 24, 2001
    Assignee: Sarcos, Inc.
    Inventors: Stephen C. Jacobsen, Clark C. Davis, David F. Knutti
  • Patent number: 6196111
    Abstract: A band controlled valve apparatus for controlling fluid flow from a source to a sink, including a base (12) having an upper surface and an aperture (16) extending from the upper surface through the base (12) allowing the flow of fluid from the source through the base (12) to the sink when the aperture (16) is not covered, an elongate flexible band (8) with a first portion (8a) in contact with the upper surface of the base (12) and a second portion (8b) extending forwardly of the first portion (8a) then upwardly and rearwardly above at least a part of the first portion (8a), the second portion (8b) being actuated to selectively move the second portion (8b) of the band (8) forwardly or rearwardly to cover or uncover, respectively, the aperture (16) with the first portion (8a) of the band (8) to thereby prevent or allow, respectively, fluid flow through the aperture (16).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 17, 1999
    Date of Patent: March 6, 2001
    Assignee: Sarcos, L.C.
    Inventors: Stephen C. Jacobsen, Clark C. Davis, David F. Knutti
  • Patent number: 6193107
    Abstract: The present invention is a toy water gun for containment and ejection of water which includes a housing, an ejection nozzle, a bladder and an outlet connection which runs from the bladder to the nozzle. The expandable bladder is located in the housing and has a first end connected to the outlet connection and has a carriage attachment located at the second end. The bladder carriage attachment is movable and guided generally linearly in the housing as the bladder is expanded. The bladder is a tubular member having a weakened section with a larger diameter than the remaining portion of the tubular member and has a variable diameter which varies from larger at the first end to smaller at the second end. In one embodiment, the bladder has a variable diameter, larger at it's front end and smaller at it's back end. In another embodiment, the bladder has a constant diameter with a wall thickness gradient. Combined variable diameters and wall thickness may be used.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 23, 1999
    Date of Patent: February 27, 2001
    Assignee: Larami Limited
    Inventor: Bruce M. D'Andrade
  • Patent number: 6173641
    Abstract: A band controlled valve apparatus for controlling fluid flow from a source to a sink, including a base (12) having an upper surface and an aperture (16) extending from the upper surface through the base (12) allowing the flow of fluid from the source through the base (12) to the sink when the aperture (16) is not covered, an elongate flexible band (8) with a first portion (8a) in contact with the upper surface of the base (12) and a second portion (8b) extending forwardly of the first portion (8a) then upwardly and rearwardly above at least a part of the first portion (8a), the second portion (8b) being actuated to selectively move the second portion (8b) of the band (8) forwardly or rearwardly to cover or uncover, respectively, the aperture (16) with the first portion (8a) of the band (8) to thereby prevent or allow, respectively, fluid flow through the aperture (16).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 17, 1999
    Date of Patent: January 16, 2001
    Assignee: Sarcos, L.C.
    Inventors: Stephen C. Jacobsen, Clark C. Davis, David F. Knutti
  • Patent number: 6146114
    Abstract: A fluid pump and expandable energy storage device includes a substantially igid circular band, a substantially rigid central hub, a membrane fixed to the band and to the hub, the membrane being enlargeable by a fluid introduced into the device, and a plurality of rods interconnecting the band and the hub. The enlargeable membrane is adjacent the rods, such that enlargement of the membrane causes movement of the hub and portions of the rods away from a plane of the band. The movement causes twisting and bending of the rods, biasing the rods to return to their original positions upon release of the fluid. Upon such release, the membrane and the rods immediately return to their non-enlarged states, forcing the fluid out of the device at a high velocity.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 22, 1998
    Date of Patent: November 14, 2000
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Secretary of the Navy
    Inventors: Nicholas M. Nardacci, Jeffrey L. Cipolla