Charge-Control Techniques in High Voltage Power Supplies

Updated: Jan 31

Artimus Robotics has developed a number of breakthroughs related to high voltage driving electronics that enable unprecedented control over HASEL actuators, as well as other electrostatic devices such as dielectric elastomer actuators, electrostatic clutches, and electroadhesive devices. In particular, Artimus has developed a method of driving HASEL actuators using a charge-controlled technique. The design utilizes optocouplers (or alternative switching elements like MOSFETs or IGBTs) that are controlled using either an analog voltage or PWM signal with a variable duty cycle. The method creates analog HV switches that are capable of controlling the amount of charge stored by the HASEL actuators, and therefore, its actuated state. The unique arrangement of switches provides precise control over the position as well as the actuation speed of the actuators during both the charging and discharging portions of an actuation cycle. These analog switches can be scaled to a nearly arbitrary number of independent actuation channels while utilizing only one centralized HV amplifier set to a constant DC output voltage, thereby enabling extremely compact electronic packages for operating large arrays of HASEL actuators.


Furthermore, since the discharge mechanism of the actuators is active, not passive (like a resistor connected in parallel with the actuator, which is common in the field), the actuators maintain a ‘catch’ state, whereby they actuate and hold a position without consuming much energy. Additionally, this technique allows control of the state of actuation during discharge, which is analogous to eccentric contraction of skeletal muscles.


With these breakthroughs, Artimus Robotics has become a world leader in creating compact, multi-channel HV power supplies to solve even the most difficult motion challenges using HASEL actuators. If you are curious about how Artimus Robotics can design power supplies to meet your needs, contact us directly at info@artimusrobotics.com.



About Artimus Robotics

Artimus Robotics designs and manufactures soft electric actuators. The technology was inspired by nature (muscles) and spun out of the University of Colorado. HASEL (Hydraulically Amplified Self-healing ELectrostatic) actuator technology operates when electrostatic forces are applied to a flexible polymer pouch and dielectric liquid to drive shape change in a soft structure. These principles can be applied to achieve a contracting motion, expanding motion, or other complex deformations. For more information, please visit Artimus Robotics or contact info@artimusrobotics.com.

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