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Table 1 Comparison and potential application of soft actuators in robotic

From: A Review of Smart Materials for the Boost of Soft Actuators, Soft Sensors, and Robotics Applications

Soft actuator Electrically response actuator Thermally responsive actuator Magnetically responsive actuator Photoresponsive soft actuator
Basic material DE Insulating liquid IPMC PVC ER fluid SMP LCE SMA magnetic particles Photoresponsive material
Response time < 200 µs 0.01‒0.05 s > 2 s < 0.2 s ~10 −3 s 10‒40 s > 60 s 0.2‒2 s < 1 s 1.8‒9 s
Advantages High energy density;
Fast response;
Lightweight
Low noise
Self-healing;
Reliable
High flexibility; Low driving voltage;
Large bending
Stable;
Durable;
Fast response;
Fully flexible Variable stiffness Compliant;
Reversible
deformation
High energy density Small size; Noninvasiveness;
High mobility;
Untethered
Simple structure;
Miniaturization;
Lightweight;
Untethered
Limitations Dielectric breakdown;
High voltage
High voltage;
Leakage
Low efficiency;
Limited lifetime
Electrical breakdown Compliant and robustness Unidirectional deformation;
Low efficiency
Limited efficiency Uncertain fatigue behavior Magnetic interference;
Low efficiency
Low efficiency;
Slow response
Application Biomimetic
robots;
Underwater robots;
Grasping tasks, etc.
Biomimetic
structures;
Grasping tasks, etc.
Underwater robots, etc. Micro
electronics; Optical devices, etc.
Microfluidic diaphragm pumps, etc. Self-folding and self-
reconstructing robots, etc.
Micro-soft robot, etc. Underwater robots, etc. Micro Untethered
robot;
Submillimeter continuous robots, etc.
Micromotor;
Simulation
of the flower bloom, etc.