A two-degrees-of-freedom miniature manipulator actuated by antagonistic shape memory alloys

Chih Ming Lai, Cheng Yu Chu, Chao Chieh Lan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presents a miniature manipulator that can provide rotations around two perpendicularly intersecting axes. Each axis is actuated by a pair of shape memory alloy (SMA) wires. SMA wire actuators are known for their large energy density and ease of actuation. These advantages make them ideal for applications that have stringent size and weight constraints. SMA actuators can be temperature-controlled to contract and relax like muscles. When correctly designed, antagonistic SMA actuators have a faster response and larger range of motion than bias-type SMA actuators. This paper proposes an antagonistic actuation model to determine the manipulator parameters that are required to generate sufficient workspace. Effects of SMA prestrain and spring stiffness on the manipulator are investigated. Taking advantage of proper prestrain, the actuator size can be made much smaller while maintaining the same motion. The use of springs in series with SMA can effectively reduce actuator stress. A controller and an anti-slack algorithm are developed to ensure fast and accurate motion. Speed, stress, and loading experiments are conducted to demonstrate the performance of the manipulator.

Original languageEnglish
Article number085006
JournalSmart Materials and Structures
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Aug 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Signal Processing
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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