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Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Academics & Research

UH researcher innovates a new electrochemical actuator

Electrochemical Actuator

Mohammadjavad Eslamian is in the middle of the process to patent this invention with the University of Houston. | Courtesy of Mohammadjavad Eslamian

A team of UH researchers has made a major scientific breakthrough with the development of a new device called an electrochemical actuator.

These devices, which transform electrical energy into mechanical energy, have the potential to be useful in a variety of projects, according to the author of the original paper that detailed the team’s discoveries, Mohammadjavad Eslamian.

“Electrochemical actuators have numerous potential applications such as soft robotics, artificial muscles and bioelectronics,” Eslamian said. 

These particular actuators are notable since the research team was able to vastly improve the speed at which they operate, something that hampered the effectiveness of previous actuators.

“Our proposed actuator provides impressive actuation performances including low power consumption per strain percentage, fast response, and prolonged actuation stability,” Eslamian said. 

This increased speed and efficiency is accomplished via the utilization of microactuators which allow for the development of implantable neural microbes. 

“These movable microbes may potentially enhance neural signal recordings that are adversely affected either by damaged tissue or neuron displacement,” Eslamian said.

This could potentially allow for some revolutionary changes in how our body can utilize implanted technology, but they aren’t completely without risk.

Since inserting microbes into live brain tissue is challenging, the actuators are set to be put through a rigorous testing process. 

“There are some precautions required to be considered prior to implantation of microbes into the brain tissue,” Eslamian said. “In fact, applications for neural electrodes are not standardized; therefore the insertion method, the device stiffness, and geometry should be adjusted as needed.”

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