Non-metallic Patents (Class 92/92)
  • Patent number: 11987389
    Abstract: A method and apparatus for forming a composite structure. An inner tooling, a stackup, and an outer tooling are held in place together using a load constraint. A bladder and a plurality of stringer bladders in the stackup are pressurized to cause expansion of the bladder and the plurality of stringer bladders, thereby pushing together an overbraided thermoplastic skin and a plurality of overbraided thermoplastic members in the stackup. The overbraided thermoplastic skin and the plurality of overbraided thermoplastic members are co-consolidated while the bladder and the plurality of stringer bladders are pressurized to form the composite structure.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 18, 2019
    Date of Patent: May 21, 2024
    Assignee: The Boeing Company
    Inventors: Jeffery Lee Marcoe, Marc R. Matsen
  • Patent number: 11975444
    Abstract: A finger for a robotic gripper may include a flexible backbone, a plurality of jamming layers, and a membrane bag. The backbone may have a first side, a second side, a third side, and a fourth side. The backbone may include a flexible beam, and a plurality of branches attached to the flexible beam and spaced apart from one another. Each branch may include a first end surface extending along the first side, and a second end surface extending along the second side. The first end surfaces may collectively extend along a majority of the first side, and the second end surfaces may collectively extend along a majority of the second side. The jamming layers may be positioned along the third side or the fourth side. The membrane bag may be positioned over the jamming layers.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 5, 2023
    Date of Patent: May 7, 2024
    Assignee: Ohio State Innovation Foundation
    Inventors: Haijun Su, Yuan Gao
  • Patent number: 11892015
    Abstract: A method of performing wireless actuation by inductive heating of magnetic particles. The method provides a bladder having an inner surface and an outer surface, the inner surface forming an interior area, the bladder configured to expand or retract so as to change an area of the interior area, (ii) a plurality of magnetic particles suspended in a fluid medium and disposed within the interior area, and (iii) a sleeve disposed on the outer surface of the bladder. The method excites the plurality of magnetic particles by application of an alternating magnetic field to which the particles reaction. The method causes, by the excited magnetic particles, a phase transition to the fluid medium within the interior area which causes the bladder to expand, such that the sleeve confining the bladder generates actuation from the expansion or retraction of the bladder.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 10, 2019
    Date of Patent: February 6, 2024
    Assignee: MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
    Inventors: Seyed M. Mirvakili, Ian W. Hunter
  • Patent number: 11865702
    Abstract: A soft bodied robotic member has the appearance of a finger and has a deformable rubber elongated body surrounding an array of rigid ribs interconnected by a perpendicular constraint. The plates form a series of parallel protrusions extending from opposed sides of the body and have a serrated, sawtooth or wavelike appearance. A tether runs through each row of protrusions and draws the corresponding protrusions together in a compressive manner to bend or dispose the finger toward the compressed side. Gaps between the protrusion allow movement of the protrusion towards adjacent protrusions to dispose the body in an arcuate shape. The constraint is a planar sheet that bends with the arc along its width, but resists lateral twisting, thus limiting movement outside a plane defined by the arc and the tether. Multiple finger members may be placed in close geometric proximity for gripping a common object.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 24, 2021
    Date of Patent: January 9, 2024
    Assignee: Worcester Polytechnic Institute
    Inventors: Cagdas D. Onal, Onder Ondemir, Weijia Tao
  • Patent number: 11826905
    Abstract: Exemplary embodiments relate to improvements in robotic systems to reduce biological or chemical harborage points on the systems. For example, in exemplary embodiments, robotic actuators, hubs, or entire robotic systems may be configured to allow crevices along joints or near fasteners to be reduced or eliminated, hard corners to be replaced with rounded edges, certain components or harborage points to be eliminated, shapes to be reconfigured to be smoother or flat, and/or or surfaces to be reconfigurable for simpler cleaning.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 26, 2022
    Date of Patent: November 28, 2023
    Assignee: Soft Robotics, Inc.
    Inventors: Joshua Aaron Lessing, Ryan Richard Knopf, Daniel Vincent Harburg, Kevin Alcedo, Grant Thomas Sellers, Mark Chiappetta
  • Patent number: 11807511
    Abstract: A material dispensing device for dispensing liquid material whose viscosity is higher than water, and a related material output volume detecting device and a related damper device are disclosed. The material output volume detecting device includes: a damper device arranged to operably buffer liquid material flowing therethrough; and a flowmeter arranged to operably measure the flow of liquid material outputted from the damper device. The damper device includes: a damper base having a material buffer chamber; a diaphragm covered on the material buffer chamber; a fastening element positioned on the diaphragm and having a hollow portion; and a restriction element, positioned on the fastening element, and arranged to operably restrain a degree of deformation of the diaphragm.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 21, 2022
    Date of Patent: November 7, 2023
    Assignee: Botrista Technology, Inc.
    Inventors: Wu-Chou Kuo, Yu-Min Lee, Jia-Hui Chen, Yen-Jui Su
  • Patent number: 11787682
    Abstract: A material output volume detecting device for use in an automated beverage preparation apparatus is disclosed. The material output volume detecting device includes: a damper device arranged to operably buffer liquid material flowing therethrough; and a flowmeter arranged to operably measure the flow of liquid material outputted from the damper device. The damper device includes: a damper base having a material entrance hole, a material exit hole, and a material buffer chamber positioned between the material entrance hole and the material exit hole; a diaphragm covered on the material buffer chamber; and a fastening element positioned on the diaphragm and having a hollow portion. When the volume of liquid material within the material buffer chamber exceeds a predetermined amount, the diaphragm deforms to protrude outward, so that a part of the diaphragm enters the hollow portion of the fastening element.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 21, 2022
    Date of Patent: October 17, 2023
    Assignee: Botrista Technology, Inc.
    Inventors: Wu-Chou Kuo, Yu-Min Lee, Jia-Hui Chen, Yen-Jui Su
  • Patent number: 11788562
    Abstract: The subject invention pertains to a pneumatic, hydraulic, or otherwise inflatable or pressurized artificial muscle. Also provided are methods for making, controlling, and using such a muscle useful for prostheses, movement aids, or wearable robots to assist the movement of impaired subjects or to improve the function of healthy subjects. Muscles can be made by densely winding tension wires around pressurized expandable tubes having one or more specific geometric shapes removed from the tube cross section. The curve of output characteristics such as output force vs. contraction ratio can be adjustable by changing parameters of the sectional view of the tube. The appropriate shape of tube and related output characteristics can be selected according to application area or body part to be assisted to achieve the most flexible and optimal design for one or more muscle groups.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 19, 2022
    Date of Patent: October 17, 2023
    Assignee: The Chinese University of Hong Kong
    Inventors: Kai Yu Tong, Disheng Xie, Jing Shu, Junming Wang
  • Patent number: 11787681
    Abstract: A damper device for use in an automated beverage preparation apparatus is disclosed. The damper device includes: a damper base having a material entrance hole, a material exit hole, and a material buffer chamber positioned between the material entrance hole and the material exit hole; a diaphragm covered on the material buffer chamber; and a fastening element positioned on the diaphragm and having a hollow portion. When the volume of liquid material within the material buffer chamber exceeds a predetermined amount, the diaphragm deforms to protrude outward, so that a part of the diaphragm enters the hollow portion of the fastening element.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 21, 2022
    Date of Patent: October 17, 2023
    Assignee: Botrista Technology, Inc.
    Inventors: Wu-Chou Kuo, Yu-Min Lee, Jia-Hui Chen, Yen-Jui Su
  • Patent number: 11780100
    Abstract: A robotic grasping system can include a three-dimensional (3D) printed joint, a stiff portion coupled with the 3D-printed joint, internal tubes within the 3D-printed joint, a bellows coupled with the 3D-printed joint and at least one of the internal tubes, and a pressure source configured to cause the internal tubes to pressurize or depressurize the bellows.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 13, 2019
    Date of Patent: October 10, 2023
    Assignee: THE REGENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA
    Inventors: Grace Xiang Gu, Kahraman Gufran Demir, Zhizhou Zhang
  • Patent number: 11742663
    Abstract: An integrated hybrid energy recovery and storage system for recovering and storing energy from multiple energy sources is disclosed. The system includes an accumulator unit having a high pressure accumulator and a low pressure accumulator. At least one piston is mounted for reciprocation in the high pressure accumulator. The accumulator unit is configured to receive, store, and transfer energy from the hydraulic fluid to the energy storage media. The system further includes two or more rotational directional control valves, in which at least one rotational directional control valve is positioned on each side of the accumulator unit. Each rotational directional control valve includes multiple ports. The system also includes two or more variable displacement hydraulic rotational units. At least one variable displacement hydraulic rotational unit is positioned adjacent each of the rotational directional control valves.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 27, 2021
    Date of Patent: August 29, 2023
    Assignee: A & A International, LLC
    Inventors: Horia Abaitancei, Cornel Mihai, Stefan Ioana
  • Patent number: 11738471
    Abstract: Exemplary embodiments provide enhancements for soft robotic actuators. In some embodiments, angular adjustment systems are provided for varying an angle between an actuator and the hub, or between two actuators. The angular adjustment system may also be used to vary a relative distance or spacing between actuators. According to further embodiments, rigidizing layers are provided for reinforcing one or more portions of an actuator at one or more locations of relatively high strain. According to further embodiments, force amplification structures are provided for increasing an amount of force applied by an actuator to a target. The force amplification structures may serve to shorten the length of the actuator that is subject to bending upon inflation. According to still further embodiments, gripping pads are provided for customizing an actuator's gripping profile to better conform to the surfaces of items to be gripped.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 30, 2021
    Date of Patent: August 29, 2023
    Assignee: SOFT ROBOTICS, INC.
    Inventors: Joshua Aaron Lessing, Ryan Knopf, Carl Vause
  • Patent number: 11731292
    Abstract: A hub assembly for coupling different grasper assemblies including a soft actuator in various configurations to a mechanical robotic components are described. Further described are soft actuators having various reinforcement. Further described are and soft actuators having electroadhesive pads for improved grip, and/or embedded electromagnets for interacting with complementary surfaces on the object being gripped. Still further described are soft actuators having reinforcement mechanisms for reducing or eliminating bowing in a strain limiting layer, or for reinforcing accordion troughs in the soft actuator body.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 2, 2021
    Date of Patent: August 22, 2023
    Assignee: Soft Robotics, Inc.
    Inventors: Joshua Aaron Lessing, Ryan Richard Knopf, Carl Everett Vause, Kevin Alcedo
  • Patent number: 11691297
    Abstract: A soft robotic gripper having component parts capable of being assembled in the field at the terminus of an industrial robot arm for providing adaptive gripping of a product. A hub includes a pneumatic inlet leading to outlets. Finger mounts with pneumatic passages hold inflatable fingers, and tension fastener(s) secure and compress the finger mounts toward the hub by passing through the pneumatic passages and fastening under tension in a direction of the hub.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 16, 2021
    Date of Patent: July 4, 2023
    Assignee: SOFT ROBOTICS, INC.
    Inventors: Jeffrey Curhan, Chikyung Won, Andrew George Goodale
  • Patent number: 11679514
    Abstract: A finger for a robotic gripper may include a flexible backbone, a plurality of jamming layers, and a membrane bag. The backbone may have a first side, a second side, a third side, and a fourth side. The backbone may include a flexible beam, and a plurality of branches attached to the flexible beam and spaced apart from one another. Each branch may include a first end surface extending along the first side, and a second end surface extending along the second side. The first end surfaces may collectively extend along a majority of the first side, and the second end surfaces may collectively extend along a majority of the second side. The jamming layers may be positioned along the third side or the fourth side. The membrane bag may be positioned over the jamming layers.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 8, 2021
    Date of Patent: June 20, 2023
    Assignee: Ohio State Innovation Foundation
    Inventors: Haijun Su, Yuan Gao
  • Patent number: 11655928
    Abstract: In an apparatus for pipeline renovation using a lining fiber tube impregnated with a reactive resin that cures under the effect of light-emitting devices, the apparatus has a head part 1 made of a transparent, temperature-resistant material, and end caps 2, 3 seal the apparatus hermetically against the outside, wherein the whole apparatus or at least its head part 1 is filled with a transparent, flame-retardant insulating fluid 5 and the apparatus contains an insert whose insulating substrates 8 are populated with high-performance light-emitting diodes 9.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 11, 2018
    Date of Patent: May 23, 2023
    Inventor: Bernd-Jan Krasowski
  • Patent number: 11628560
    Abstract: An artificial muscle system includes a collapsible skeleton, a flexible skin, and a muscle actuation mechanism. The collapsible skeleton is contained inside a volume defined, at least in part, by the flexible skin. The flexible skin and the collapsible skeleton are configured for the flexible skin to provide a pulling force on the collapsible skeleton when a pressure difference exists between the inside of the sealed volume and a surrounding environment to change at least one of the dimensions and thus geometry of the collapsible skeleton. The muscle actuation mechanism includes at least one of the following to deploy or contract the collapsible skeleton: (a) a fluid displacing, releasing, or capturing mechanism configured to increase or decrease fluid pressure inside the sealed volume; and (b) a heating or cooling element configured to change the temperature of fluid in the sealed volume.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 22, 2018
    Date of Patent: April 18, 2023
    Assignees: President and Fellows of Harvard College, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    Inventors: Shuguang Li, Robert J. Wood, Daniela Rus, Daniel M. Vogt, Nicholas W. Bartlett
  • Patent number: 11618159
    Abstract: A soft continuum robotic module comprises a plurality of inflatable actuators disposed between plates. Via inflation or deflation of one or more of the actuators, the module may extend, contract, twist, bend, and/or exert a grasping force. One or more modules may be combined to form a robotic arm with multiple degrees of freedom.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 7, 2021
    Date of Patent: April 4, 2023
    Assignee: Arizona Board of Regents on Behalf of Arizona State University
    Inventors: Wenlong Zhang, Pham Huy Nguyen, Zhi Qiao, Sam Seidel, Imran I. B. Mohd, Sunny Amatya
  • Patent number: 11608892
    Abstract: Plug for high-pressure processing machines with a bag, comprising a duct for the passage of a pressure-transmitting fluid to the bag, another duct for filling and emptying of a product to be pressurized and a valve. The plug is further provided with a rod for opening and closing the valve. Said rod is located in the duct for the product and has its own inner duct joined to a cleaning agent chamber for the passage of the cleaning agent through the product duct. The invention also relates to a machine incorporating said plug and a method for the processing of pumpable substances. Hygienic design and very high pressure sealing requirements are met by the invention.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 7, 2017
    Date of Patent: March 21, 2023
    Assignee: HIPERBARIC, S.A.
    Inventors: Raul Lopez Ondevilla, Ruben García Reizabal, Santiago Tarrago Mingo, Andres Felipe Hernando Saiz, Wouter Nicolaas Andries Burggraaf
  • Patent number: 11603870
    Abstract: A rotary actuator may include a first holder in which a fluid injecting portion is formed, a second holder rotatably coupled to the first holder, a flexible body fixed to the first holder and the second holder and configured to expand as a fluid is injected through the first holder, and a plurality of fibers radially disposed in a spiral shape at the flexible body and configured to rotate the flexible body when the flexible body expands.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 15, 2022
    Date of Patent: March 14, 2023
    Assignee: Research & Business Foundation Sungkyunkwan University
    Inventors: Ja Choon Koo, Young Min Lee, Dong Jun Oh, Hyung Pil Moon, Hyouk Ryeol Choi
  • Patent number: 11597642
    Abstract: A material dispensing device, a material output volume detecting device, and a related damper device for use in an automated beverage preparation apparatus are disclosed. The material output volume detecting device includes: a damper device arranged to operably buffer liquid material flowing therethrough; and a flowmeter arranged to operably measure the flow of liquid material outputted from the damper device. The damper device includes: a damper base having a material entrance hole, a material exit hole, and a material buffer chamber positioned between the material entrance hole and the material exit hole; a diaphragm covered on the material buffer chamber; and a fastening element positioned on the diaphragm and having a hollow portion. When the volume of liquid material within the material buffer chamber exceeds a predetermined amount, the diaphragm deforms to protrude outward, so that a part of the diaphragm enters the hollow portion of the fastening element.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 31, 2021
    Date of Patent: March 7, 2023
    Assignee: Botrista Technology, Inc.
    Inventors: Wu-Chou Kuo, Yu-Min Lee, Jia-Hui Chen, Yen-Jui Su
  • Patent number: 11584192
    Abstract: Provided are a defrosting control device, an air conditioner and a defrosting control method therefor. The device includes an airbag device, wherein the airbag device includes a mounting support (1), an airbag (2) and an inflation mechanism. When an air conditioner to be controlled enters a defrosting mode, the inflation mechanism inflates the airbag (2) such that same forms an airbag layer to isolate an outdoor heat exchanger of the air conditioner to be controlled from flowing air outside the outdoor heat exchanger. The defrosting control device can achieve the beneficial effects of a small defrosting heat loss, a good defrosting effect and a good user experience.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 17, 2018
    Date of Patent: February 21, 2023
    Assignees: GREE ELECTRIC APPLIANCES (WUHAN) CO., LTD, GREE ELECTRIC APPLIANCES, INC. OF ZHUHAI
    Inventors: Aibin Guo, Huili Wu, Zhe Wang
  • Patent number: 11576701
    Abstract: A surgical access assembly including an elongated cannula member having proximal and distal end portions, a cannula housing coupled to the proximal end portion of the elongated cannula member, a balloon anchor coupled to the distal end portion of the elongated cannula member, and a collar disposed along the elongated cannula member and in fluid communication with the balloon anchor. The collar includes a first check valve and a manually actuatable pump. The first check valve is configured to control flow of air into the balloon anchor. The manually actuatable pump is coupled to the first check valve.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 5, 2020
    Date of Patent: February 14, 2023
    Inventors: Astley C. Lobo, Kevin Desjardin, Christopher A. Tokarz, Douglas M. Pattison
  • Patent number: 11478231
    Abstract: A bone marrow aspiration device and associated method includes an introducer needle assembly and an aspiration needle assembly. The introducer needle assembly includes an introducer cannula having proximal and distal ends, each end including an opening, and a screw assembly coupled to the introducer handle. The screw assembly includes a threaded tube and a lead screw receivable in the threaded tube. An outer cover is disposed around and in sealing engagement with the threaded tube and the lead screw. The aspiration needle assembly is receivable in the introducer cannula and includes an aspiration cannula forming a channel for aspirating bone marrow and including a flexible portion that extends from a distal end along a length of the aspiration cannula. A length of the aspiration cannula that extends beyond the distal end of the introducer cannula is adjustable by advancing the lead screw into or reversing the lead screw out of the threaded tube.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 2, 2020
    Date of Patent: October 25, 2022
    Assignee: CERVOS MEDICAL LLC
    Inventors: Andrew McGillicuddy, Andy H. Levine
  • Patent number: 11369432
    Abstract: Improved systems for diagnosing and/or treating arrhythmia of a heart makes use of an array of articulation balloons to control movement of a distal portion of a catheter inside the heart, and may be used to align a diagnostic or treatment tool with a target tissue surface region along or adjacent an inner surface of one of the chambers of the heart. The articulation balloons can generate articulation forces at the site of articulation, and the movement may provide greater dexterity than movements induced by transmitting articulation forces proximally along a catheter body that winds through a tortuous vascular pathway.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 28, 2017
    Date of Patent: June 28, 2022
    Assignee: Project Moray, Inc.
    Inventors: Mark D. Barrish, Keith Phillip Laby
  • Patent number: 11335489
    Abstract: The present disclosure discloses a charging indication method. The method includes: acquiring a current ratio of a remaining battery capacity to a total battery capacity; determining a target curvature angle of a flexible display screen associated with a terminal based at least on the current ratio; and controlling the flexible display screen to present the target curvature angle.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 18, 2020
    Date of Patent: May 17, 2022
    Assignee: GUANGDONG OPPO MOBILE TELECOMMUNICATIONS CORP., LTD.
    Inventors: Yugui Lin, Jiao Cheng
  • Patent number: 11325163
    Abstract: Systems and methods for sorting utilizing an inflatable actuator are disclosed. A sorting system utilizing an inflatable actuator includes an inflatable actuator. The inflatable actuator is disposed in a cantilever beam orientation atop a support surface. The system includes an inflation component coupled to the inflatable actuator to provide an inflation force. Additionally, the system includes a control component configured to send an activation signal to the inflation component responsive to a detection of an object to be sorted. Responsive to the activation signal, the inflation component inflates the inflatable actuator to cause the inflatable actuator to make contact with the object to be sorted. The contact of the inflatable actuator with the object to be sorted causes the object to change from a first trajectory to a second trajectory.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 23, 2019
    Date of Patent: May 10, 2022
    Assignee: Arizona Board of Regents on behalf of Arizona State University
    Inventors: Panagiotis Polygerinos, Saivimal Sridar, Pham Huy Nguyen
  • Patent number: 10952888
    Abstract: Variable stiffness devices and methods of their use are provided. In some embodiments, a variable stiffness device comprises an inner member defining a compartment for receiving an actuating fluid; an outer member disposed around the inner member; and a granular medium disposed between the inner member and the outer member; wherein the inner member is being moveable in a radial direction from a relaxed state to an expanded state by introducing the actuating fluid into the compartment of the inner member to compress the granular medium against the outer member to increase the stiffness of the device.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 21, 2018
    Date of Patent: March 23, 2021
    Assignee: Worcester Polytechnic Institute
    Inventors: Marko Popovic, Saivimal Sridar, Corey Majeika, Nicholas Deisadze, Erika Giancarlo
  • Patent number: 10912701
    Abstract: This disclosure includes manipulating apparatuses and related methods. Some manipulating apparatuses include an actuator having a semi-rigid first segment, a semi-rigid second segment, and one or more flexible cells disposed between the first segment and the second segment, where the actuator is configured to be coupled to a fluid source such that the fluid source can communicate fluid to vary internal pressures of the one or more cells, and where each cell is configured such that adjustments of an internal pressure of the cell causes angular displacement of the second segment relative to the first segment.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 7, 2016
    Date of Patent: February 9, 2021
    Assignee: The Board of Regents of the University of Texas System
    Inventors: Muthu Wijesundara, Wei Carrigan, Mahdi Haghshenas Jaryani
  • Patent number: 10881536
    Abstract: [Object] To provide a hybrid actuator attaining both driving force and responsiveness, capable of reducing inertia of a movable portion. [Solution] A pneumatic air muscle has a cylinder (112) provided in a flexible member (100) forming a pneumatic artificial muscle. At the center of an upper lid element (109) of the cylinder, a through hole is opened, and an inner wire (103) of a Bowden cable passes through this through hole and is coupled by means of a spring (106) to a bottom portion of the cylinder. When the pneumatic artificial muscle contracts, the inner wire (103) and the pneumatic air muscle move together because of the stopper (105), and the contraction force is transmitted. In contrast, when the pneumatic air muscle extends, the stopper (105) is disengaged, while the tension of inner wire (103) is kept by the spring (106) to prevent slacking.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 26, 2015
    Date of Patent: January 5, 2021
    Assignee: ADVANCED TELECOMMUNICATIONS RESEARCH INSTITUTE INTERNATIONAL
    Inventors: Tomoyuki Noda, Jun Morimoto
  • Patent number: 10857637
    Abstract: The invention relates to an adjusting device for spatially adjusting the position of an object, comprising a plurality of plate elements which are arranged one over the other and which have radial guide structures that engage into one another at mutually facing sides, wherein at least one pair of movement plates and a pair of inclination plates are arranged on a base. The movement plates have a constant thickness, and the respective upper radial guide structures and lower radial guide structures of each movement plate are offset eccentrically relative to one another. The inclination plates have a variable thickness, and the respective upper radial guide structures and lower radial guide structures of each inclination plate are arranged concentrically to one another.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 12, 2018
    Date of Patent: December 8, 2020
    Assignee: HELMHOLTZ-ZENTRUM DRESDEN—ROSSENDORF E.V.
    Inventor: Uwe Bartheld
  • Patent number: 10859101
    Abstract: A soft-bodied actuator can be configured to be in a pinched or contracted configuration when power is not supplied to the actuator. Thus, a supply of electrical energy is not needed to maintain the actuator in the pinched or contracted configuration. The actuator can include a central bladder. The central bladder can include a flexible casing that defines a central fluid chamber. The central fluid chamber can include a dielectric fluid. A first conductor and a second conductor can be operatively connected to opposite portions of the central bladder. The actuator can be configured such that, in the activated mode, the first and second conductors receive electrical energy from a power source such that they are like charged, causing the first and second conductors to repel each other. The central fluid chamber can include a particulate material to help maintain the central bladder in the pinched configuration.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 10, 2018
    Date of Patent: December 8, 2020
    Assignee: Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, Inc.
    Inventor: Michael Paul Rowe
  • Patent number: 10487859
    Abstract: A pneumatic artificial muscle (PAM) actuator includes first and second end caps, an elastic bladder connected to the end caps, and a covering around the elastic bladder and connected to the end caps. At least one of the first and second end caps is configured to move and narrow a distance between the end caps in response to inflation of the elastic bladder by a fluid. At least one of the end caps includes a vent configured to allow the fluid to exit the elastic bladder and collapse the covering after activation of the PAM actuator. At least the covering is configured to provide braking for the PAM actuator. The covering may be configured to collapse at least partially between the first and second end caps to provide at least some of the braking for the PAM actuator.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 29, 2017
    Date of Patent: November 26, 2019
    Assignee: Raytheon Company
    Inventor: David D. Staggers
  • Patent number: 9498354
    Abstract: An actuation system for a joint includes an actuator having a piston, an articulating element coupled to the actuator that is driven by the piston to match a gait cycle of an appendage, an energy source engaged with the piston that energizes working fluid within the actuator to drive the piston and generate exhaust gas, a plurality of valves coupled to the actuator, and an exhaust gas holding element coupled to the actuator that is sized to hold a volume of the exhaust gas contained within the actuator.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 13, 2014
    Date of Patent: November 22, 2016
    Inventor: Douglas Lee Cook
  • Patent number: 9464642
    Abstract: A soft robotic device includes a flexible body having a width, a length and a thickness, wherein the thickness is at least 1 mm, the flexible body having at least one channel disposed within the flexible body, the channel defined by upper, lower and side walls, wherein at least one wall is strain limiting; and a pressurizing inlet in fluid communication with the at least one channel, the at least one channel positioned and arranged such that the wall opposite the strain limiting wall preferentially expands when the soft robotic device is pressurized through the inlet.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 21, 2011
    Date of Patent: October 11, 2016
    Assignee: President and Fellows of Harvard College
    Inventors: Filip Ilievski, Xin Chen, Aaron D. Mazzeo, George M. Whitesides, Robert F. Shepherd, Ramses V. Martinez, Won Jae Choi, Sen W. Kwok, Stephen Morin, Adam Stokes, Zhihong Nie
  • Patent number: 9097081
    Abstract: A technique facilitates actuation of a variety of tools in many types of environments. The actuation technique employs a closed conduit, such as a closed tube, arranged in a curvilinear structure. By applying a differential pressure to the closed conduit, the curvature of the curvilinear structure is changed. This change can be used to actuate a corresponding tool between desired operational positions.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 7, 2011
    Date of Patent: August 4, 2015
    Assignee: Schlumberger Technology Corporation
    Inventor: David James Biddick
  • 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: 8904919
    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: Grant
    Filed: November 29, 2010
    Date of Patent: December 9, 2014
    Assignees: InnoVital Systems, Inc., University of Maryland, College Park
    Inventors: Benjamin K. S. Woods, Norman M. Wereley, Curt Kothera, Shane M. Boyer
  • Patent number: 8869676
    Abstract: A fluid-powered cylinder for displacing an object with respect to a support surface is disclosed. The fluid-power cylinder includes a fabric enclosure having ends fastened to two end caps and forming an expandable and contractible chamber therein. The chamber has a port for selectively disposing an incompressible fluid in the chamber. The chamber is adapted to displace the object to a first position with respect to the support surface and to displace the object to a second position with respect to the support surface.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 24, 2009
    Date of Patent: October 28, 2014
    Assignee: Utilequip, Inc.
    Inventors: Phillip Lynn Townsend, Gary Dale Krch
  • Patent number: 8863608
    Abstract: The invention concerns a fluidically operable manipulator made up of several manipulator segments stacked along an extension curve, each comprising at least one connecting plate and at least two fluidically separated fluid chambers spaced apart on the connecting plate at right-angles to the extension curve, wherein each of the fluid chambers has at least one elastically deformable wall section which is designed to make possible, on pressurization of the respective fluid chamber with a fluid, a change in volume of the fluid chamber for a linear movement substantially parallel to the extension curve, and wherein a main extension surface of the connecting plate is provided for an arrangement at least substantially at right-angles to the extension curve, wherein the two or more fluid chambers are made integral with the connecting plate or plates.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 14, 2010
    Date of Patent: October 21, 2014
    Assignee: Festo AG & Co. KG
    Inventors: Markus Fischer, Ruwen Kaminski, Rudiger Neumann, Alexander Hildebrandt
  • Patent number: 8701545
    Abstract: In a rotation device using a hydraulic actuator, a rotation angle range is increased. A placement member rotatably coupled to a rotary member has a projecting part on an upper face. A hydraulic actuator is arranged on a projecting face of the projecting part; the actuator and the rotary member coupled with a wire material. The projecting part is formed such that it becomes higher from a leading edge on the side of the rotary member to an intermediate portion in the longitudinal direction, and becomes lower from the intermediate portion to a trailing edge. Thereby, when fluid is supplied to the actuator and shortens the actuator length, a tip of the actuator moves along the projecting face of the projecting part, and is located high, separated from the upper face of the placement member such that the rotation angle range of the rotary member becomes large.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 2, 2008
    Date of Patent: April 22, 2014
    Assignees: SQUSE Inc., The Doshisha
    Inventors: Tatuwo Kudawara, Mikio Shimizu, Yasunori Ichikawa, Nobutaka Tsujiuchi
  • Patent number: 8650868
    Abstract: There is provided an abnormality determination unit that determines whether or not an output measurement unit is abnormal, in order to determine abnormality of the output measurement unit. When the output measurement unit is abnormal, the operation of an elastic actuator is controlled not in accordance with a measurement result of the output measurement unit but in accordance with an internal state model.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 13, 2012
    Date of Patent: February 18, 2014
    Assignee: Panasonic Corporation
    Inventors: Mayumi Komatsu, Yasunao Okazaki
  • Patent number: 8640602
    Abstract: An actuator is provided whose expansion in the radial direction can be efficiently translated into longitudinal movement when its length is contracted and extended by injecting a fluid into the tubular body. The fluid injection type actuator includes an actuator body, which is an expansion and contraction section of the actuator. The actuator body is constructed of a cylindrical rubber tube and annular fiber groups inserted and extending longitudinally therein. The annular fiber groups are each a group of fibers, such as glass roving fibers having a diameter of about 10 ?m, arranged in an annular array along the circumference of the rubber tube. The arrangement allows the rubber tube to be restrained over the entirety of the actuator body longitudinally when it is expanded radially.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 9, 2008
    Date of Patent: February 4, 2014
    Assignee: Chuo University
    Inventors: Taro Nakamura, Kenji Yamamoto
  • Patent number: 8573534
    Abstract: An actuation system for trailing-edge flap control suitable for use in reducing vibration in rotorcraft blades as well as primary flight control and noise mitigation employing an antagonistic pair of fluidic artificial muscles (FAMs) located and operated inside the rotor blade. The FAMs are connected to a force transfer mechanism such as an inboard bellcrank and engaged to an outboard bellcrank by one or more linkages running spanwise out through the spar. The outboard mechanism translates the spanwise linkage motion into chordwise motion of a flap control rod which is connected to the trailing-edge flap. A torsion rod flexure (TRF) device is included connecting the trailing-edge flap to the blade. The actuation system can produce large flap deflections at relatively high operating frequencies for vibration reduction and noise cancellation and is capable of larger flap deflections at lower operating frequencies for embedded primary control of the rotorcraft.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 29, 2011
    Date of Patent: November 5, 2013
    Assignees: Techno-Sciences, Inc., University of Maryland, College Park
    Inventors: Curt Kothera, Norman M Wereley, Benjamin K. S. Woods
  • Patent number: 8365758
    Abstract: A bladder system and apparatus for use with a beverage barrel or container, to reduce undesirable head-space in a wooden container of a beverage, especially a fermented beverage, such as wine. The system continuously protects the beverage contained in a wooden barrel from the harmful effects of oxidation at the air-to-fluid interface in the head-space and compensates for ullage, attributable to evaporation, leakage or sampling losses. The system includes an inflation stem connected to a barrel bladder inflatable by filling with an inflation gas. The inflation stem includes a liquid level sensor and inserts into a bung opening. The fluid level is sensed and a gas valve opens to fill the bladder, reducing head-space within the barrel. The system can combine the control of several barrels and optionally with other sensors, to create a barrel monitoring and control network.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 30, 2009
    Date of Patent: February 5, 2013
    Assignee: Angels' Share Innovations, LLC.
    Inventor: Mark A. Maiocco
  • Patent number: 8349020
    Abstract: An artificial muscle (10) comprises a chamber (12) having a flexible wall of plastics material, a device for heating and/or cooling a low-boiling-point fluid contained in, or in communication with, the chamber so that at least some of the fluid changes state between liquid and gaseous so that the force in the chamber on the flexible wall changes and/or the flexible wall moves to change the volume of the chamber, and a tendon (14) which at least partly encircles the chamber over an extent that varies with variations in the chamber volume for transmitting force between the flexible wall and a load. The use of a low-boiling-point fluid operating at around its boiling point enables plastics materials to be used without thermal damage, and the use of plastics materials enables low production costs. The use of a flexible wall to convey an effort to a load avoids the need for sliding parts and can provide advantages such as reduced friction and ease of sealing.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 15, 2008
    Date of Patent: January 8, 2013
    Inventor: Dennis Majoe
  • Patent number: 8336445
    Abstract: Disclosed is a pumping system comprising a pump having a rigid outer casing defining an interior space and a tube structure in the interior space, the tube structure being flexible and substantially inelastic. The interior of the tube structure defines a pumping chamber for receiving pumped fluid. The tube structure is movable between laterally expanded and collapsed conditions thereby providing discharge and intake strokes. The pumping chamber receives pumped fluid to cause the tube structure to move towards the expanded condition and undergo an intake stroke. The pumping chamber—undergoes a discharge stroke upon collapsing of the tube structure. The pumping system also comprises a delivery means and a supplying means for delivering pumped fluid to the pumping chamber and for supplying actuating fluid to an actuating region around the tube structure in timed sequence to cause the tube structure to undergo discharge and intake strokes.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 12, 2010
    Date of Patent: December 25, 2012
    Assignee: Weir Minerals Netherlands B.V.
    Inventors: Gordon Leith Morriss, Robert Leslie West
  • Patent number: 8307753
    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: Grant
    Filed: June 11, 2009
    Date of Patent: November 13, 2012
    Assignees: Techno-Sciences, Inc., University of Maryland
    Inventors: Benjamin K. S. Woods, Curt Kothera, Norman M. Wereley
  • Patent number: 8308456
    Abstract: Rotary axial peristaltic pumps, related methods and components. The rotary axial peristaltic pump generally comprises a platen having a platen surface, a tube positioned adjacent to the platen surface, cam that rotates about a rotational axis and has a cam surface that is spaced apart from the platen surface and a plurality of tube compressing fingers. The fingers move axially back and forth in sequence to sequentially compress segments or regions of the tube against the platen surface, thereby causing peristaltic movement of fluid through the tube. The fingers move back and forth on axes that are substantially parallel to the axis about which the cam rotates.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 19, 2006
    Date of Patent: November 13, 2012
    Assignees: Baxter International Inc., Baxter Healthcare S.A.
    Inventor: Ahmad-Maher Moubayed
  • Patent number: 8166755
    Abstract: A fluid pressure actuator for a turbocharger system's turbine bypass valve comprises a piston slidable in a cylinder so as to define a chamber containing a compression spring assembly operable to exert a spring force on the piston. The cylinder can be selectively subjected to a vacuum or pressure for exerting a fluid pressure force on the piston in a direction opposite from the spring force. The spring assembly comprises a first spring arranged to be compressed by the piston throughout a first range of motion of the piston in a compression direction, and at least a second spring arranged to be compressed by the piston throughout a second range of motion that is smaller than and co-terminal with the first range of motion but to be uncompressed during an initial part of the first range of motion of the piston in the compression direction.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 13, 2009
    Date of Patent: May 1, 2012
    Assignee: Honeywell International Inc.
    Inventors: Arthur Jeanson, Jean-Luc Perrin, Jean-Yves Bodin