Under the patronage of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the Swiss Government and City of Geneva, the International Exhibition of Inventions of Geneva (IEIG) was held from March 16 to March 20. Due to the Covid-19, this year’s IEIG went virtual, receiving about 800 inventions from 25 countries and regions.
The team led by ZOU Jun from the Zhejiang University School of Mechanical Engineering won a gold medal at IEIG. Their project was about a customized self-healing soft pump for robots.
Persistent challenges with the hydraulic systems, such as leaking and making noise, have severely impeded its application. In this context, Prof. ZOU Jun et al. developed a self-healing soft electronic pump, which utilizes electrical energy to pump liquid through the electron and ion migration mechanism and includes special functional liquids that can automatically heal the damages of soft robots. It is marked by silent driving, self-heal, portability and customizability, thereby able to improve the environmental adaptability of pump systems and fluid-driven robots.
The electro-hydraulic actuator in the soft pump system can convert electric energy into hydraulic power directly. Moreover, it is miniature and soft. Aside from its application to robots, it shows enormous promise for human-machine interaction.