Design of Smart Endorobots: Actuators, Sensors and Control Strategies

A special issue of Actuators (ISSN 2076-0825). This special issue belongs to the section "Actuators for Robotics".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 September 2024 | Viewed by 1560

Special Issue Editors

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Guest Editor
Centre of Medical Engineering and Technology (CMET), Division of Imaging Science and Technology, School of Medicine, University of Dundee, Dundee, UK
Interests: endoscopic robots; shape memory alloy actuators; soft robots; control hardware; bio-inspired robots
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Zentrum für Mechatronik und Automatisierungstechnik gGmbH, Universität des Saarlandes, Lehrstuhl für intelligente Materialsysteme, Eschberger Weg 46, 66121 Saarbrücken, Germany
Interests: mechatronic systems; control systems; modeling; energy-based modeling and control; robust control; motion control; interaction control; self-sensing; smart materials; shape memory alloys; dielectric elastomers; soft actuators; soft robotics

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Guest Editor
Center for Mechatronics and Automation Technologies gGmbH (ZeMA), Saarland University, 66121 Saarbrücken, Germany
Interests: smart material systems; actuators; sensors; electroactive polymers; shape memory alloys; robotics; handling systems; elastocalorics

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Guest Editor
Institute of Medical Device Design, University of Stuttgart, Stuttgart, Germany
Interests: medical robotics; epecially kinematics; actuation; sensors; materials; low-cost/high performance

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Medical endorobots have supported clinicians in the performance of diagnosis and treatment by accessing difficult-to-reach organs through minimal incisions or natural orifices, thus providing safe and reliable platforms, improving precision, and enhancing dexterity, all with an ergonomic user interface. The development of such small devices requires a multidisciplinary team to design actuators, sensors, and control strategies in a synergetic interaction. Limited space inside the human body has required researchers to develop new materials to design novel actuators, such as soft polymers, shape memory alloys, dielectric elastomer, and others. Smart sensors are required to measure the force and torque applied to the surrounding organs and to measure deformations. Actuation and sensing are combined by using smart control strategies to provide a stable, fast, and reliable interface for users.

This Special Issue aims to collect articles, new studies, and reviews on electrodynamic, electromagnetic, shape memory, fluidic, and polymer actuators, sensors, and control solutions for the design of endorobots, including smart materials for both actuation and sensing and hardware and algorithms, as well as novel mechanical designs.

The content of this topic fits the aim and scope of the journal, specifically in terms of robotics, medical instruments, and miniuturisation, including aspects of actuators and control systems. We aim to provide readers with a useful collection of articles on endorobots. The Guest Editors are experts in the field of medical robotics, soft actuators and device, motion control systems, shape memory actuators, and electroactive polymers and have already collaborated together in previous research work.

Dr. Luigi Manfredi
Prof. Dr. Gianluca Rizzello
Prof. Dr. Paul Motzki
Prof. Dr. Peter P. Pott
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Actuators is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (1 paper)

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13 pages, 5977 KiB  
Additively Manufactured Porous Filling Pneumatic Network Actuator
by Giuliano A. Giacoppo, Julia Hötzel and Peter P. Pott
Actuators 2023, 12(11), 414; - 07 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1051
This research project investigated the additive manufacturing of pneumatic actuators based on the principle of droplet dosing using an Arburg Freeformer 300-3X 3D printer. The developed structure consists of a porous inner filling and a dense, airtight chamber. By selectively varying the filling [...] Read more.
This research project investigated the additive manufacturing of pneumatic actuators based on the principle of droplet dosing using an Arburg Freeformer 300-3X 3D printer. The developed structure consists of a porous inner filling and a dense, airtight chamber. By selectively varying the filling densities of the porous inner filling, different membrane deflections of the actuator were achieved. By linking the actuators, a pneumatic network actuator was developed that could be used in endorobotics. To describe the membrane deflection of an additively manufactured pneumatic actuator, a mathematical model was developed that takes into account the influence of additive manufacturing and porous filling. Using a dedicated test rig, the predicted behavior of the pneumatic actuators was shown to be qualitatively consistent. In addition, a pneumatic network actuator (PneuNet) with a diameter of 17 mm and a height of 76 mm, consisting of nine chambers with different filling densities, could be bent through 82° under a pressure of 8 bar. Our study shows that the variation of filling densities during production leads to different membrane deflections. The mathematical model developed provides satisfactory predictions, although the influence of additive manufacturing needs to be determined experimentally. Post-processing is still a necessary step to realize the full bending potential of these actuators, although challenges regarding air-tightness remain. Future research approaches include studying the deflection behavior of the chambers in multiple directions, investigating alternative materials, and optimizing the printing process to improve mechanical properties and reliability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Design of Smart Endorobots: Actuators, Sensors and Control Strategies)
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