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Piezoelectric Advanced Mobility Suit

  1. Jul 20, 2013 #1
    Hello I have been thinking about an idea for quite a while. It uses piezoelectric materials to enhance the motions of a human wearer.

    If someone were to move their leg up, the piezoelectric material will convex and produce a voltage this voltage would be used to trigger a semiconductor that is hooked to a power source. The energy produced by the human movement will trigger the semiconductor allowing current to pass to the piezoelectric material, this would bend the material even more enhancing the person's motion.

    I was thinking that a full body suit like this could be much more efficient and compact than a hydraulic exoskeleton of the same strength. I would think PZT strands inlaid in a silicone rubber tube or strip would work but I do not have a good understanding of piezoelectric materials and have never worked with them in real life. Please reply with any questions or flaws in my design
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 20, 2013 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    I doubt that piezo elements would give sufficient force and motion at the same time, but there is another issue: if you use the same elements for detection and assistance, how do you stop the motion?
    The contact to the human, power sources and so on are additional issues.
  4. Jul 21, 2013 #3
    I was thinking of using braces to prevent unwanted movement and stay plugged in til batteries evolve

    How powerful are piezos in newtons?

    Does their strength depend on the voltage supplied?
  5. Jul 28, 2013 #4
    Dear dbmorpher,

    What you suggest is in fact a subject of extensive research. Muscles themselves are piezoelectric devices based on specific proteins' large dimensional changes under very weak electrical pulses and there is a quest for developing similar materials. See e.g. the article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electroactive_polymer
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