Wireless Multistimulus-Responsive Fabric-Based Actuators for Soft Robotic, Human–Machine Interactive, and Wearable Applications

Rong Yin, Bao Yang, Xujiao Ding, Su Liu, Wei Zeng, Jun Li, Su Yang, Xiaoming Tao

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Soft actuators driven by pneumatic or electric means are heavy and clumsy with physical connections, which hinders their applications in human–machine interactive, wearable, and biomedical fields. Herewith, a light fabric bimorph actuator is reported that is driven wirelessly by optical, thermal, and magnetic energy sources. Being fabricated by laminating electrically conductive fabric and biaxially oriented polypropylene film, the actuators show a large bending curvature of 0.75 cm−1 with optical stimulus and 0.55 cm−1 with magnetic stimulus, a response time of 0.27 s with a bending angle of 100° to magnetic stimulus, more than twice faster than previously reported bimorph actuators. Their remarkable performance is attributed to the optimal structural design based on a verified Timoshenko model, electrothermal and optical properties of the conductive fabric coated by copper/nickel. It is greatly enhanced by the large difference of thermal expansion coefficients between the film and fabric. Various wireless controlled prototypes are demonstrated, including a soft gripper, soft kickers, and artificial blooming flowers, illustrating a new way to mass produce cost-effective bimorph actuators via a simple, green, and fast approach for applications in robots, wearable, and functional textiles.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2000341
JournalAdvanced Materials Technologies
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2020


  • fabric-based actuators
  • fast response
  • multistimulus-responsive actuators
  • soft robotics
  • wireless control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

Cite this