Case 14771

Portable Pneumatic Battery: Chemical Power Generation for Fluidic Elastomer Actuators


Soft robotics, fluidic elastomer actuators, chemical pressure generation, distributed actuation, smart materials


Convert chemical energy to mechanical energy for use in robotics, wearable tactile interfaces, and active orthoses or prostheses.


Fluidic actuators require a pressure source, which limits their mobility and mainstream usage.


This invention uses a chemical approach to achieve portable and silent pressure generation. It specifically focuses on on-demand pressure generation by mechanical self-regulation of decomposition of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) into oxygen (O2). Another key feature is its rotation-invariant usage, which allows the battery to operate in any orientation.

  • Portable and silent pressure generation
  • Green/ Clean technology: No emissions or harmful byproducts.
  • High energy density: Pure H2O2 has a theoretical energy density of 2.7 kJ/g. The energy density of our peroxide solution is comparable to Lithium batteries.
  • Oxygen generation: In addition to pressure, oxygen can be stored and transported with our device. This eliminates the need for high pressure tanks, but can still offer high oxygen density.

  • Professor George M. Whitesides (Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Harvard University)
  • Associate Professor Daniela Rus (Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, MIT)
  • Dagdas Denizel Onal (Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, MIT)
  • Xin Chen (Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Harvard University)

Intellectual Property:

US Provisional Patent 61/479529 filed April 27, 2011


Cagdas D. Onal, Xin Chen, George M. Whitesides, and Daniela Rus. Portable pneumatic battery: Chemical power generation for fluidic elastomer actuators. PNAS 1-6 [2011]. Doi:10.1073/pnas.0709640104

Related Cases:

14017: Pulse-modulated control, non-linear friction, micron-scale valves, actuators

Last revised: January 24, 2012

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