Ras Labs makes electroactive polymers that are shape-morphing, impact attenuating, and have pressure sensing capabilities to address pain points in multiple applications. Unlike most electroactive polymers that operate in the kV range, our materials contract and expand at low voltages. Our polymers can withstand extreme temperatures, 2 to 4 Kelvin, as cold as it is in outer space, to 135°C, well above the boiling point of water, and certain formulations resist radiation at levels that are lethal for humans.
Due to limb changes throughout the course of the day, amputees face painful slippage that can lead to skin and tissue breakdown and other issues because prosthetic devices are static. To solve this problem, Ras Labs is developing prosthetic pads to be incorporated into prosthetic liners or sockets to maintain fit so amputees can go about their day.
Our electroactive polymers convert energy directly into motion without the need for belts, pulleys, gears or motors. As a result, our materials will simplify product design and increase reliability by minimizing the number of parts that can break down in a device. Ras Labs' material can also sense pressure, and we are developing sensor systems using our polymers. Our long-term vision in robotics is to mimic hand-like grasp with fingertip-like tactile sensing.
Ras Labs can adjust our formulations to meet the desired requirements for our customers. We can design a more flexible and soft material, that provides for greater degrees of motion, or we can generate less flexible, harder materials that allow for more strength and durability.
International Space Station Project
Our Synthetic Muscle™ project on the ISS is testing the radiation resistance of our material. Given the highly adaptable properties of our Synthetic Muscle, we can design solutions for motion and control where we would never want to send a human, while also providing for an individual, custom fit for devices that are matched with a person. Our vision is to advance robotics by generating a new way of thinking about motion and control, while surviving the extreme environments in space. We would like to thank CASIS for this opportunity to work with them towards our goal.
NASA TV did a wonderful expose on our R&D and vision:
Ras Labs EAPs underwater actuation:
Ras Labs' EAP contracting in a test cell: