Centre for Fine Print Research University of the West of England Centre for Fine Print Research

3-Dimensional Fabrication of Soft Energy Harvesters

Authors: Walters, P. , McKay, T. G. , Rossiter, J. M. , O'Brien, B. M. and Anderson, I. A.
Published in: Proceedings of SPIE Volume 8687
Name of conference: Session 5: Energy Harvesting I, Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) XV Conference, San Diego, California, USA,
Place: San Diego, California, USA
Date: 10 - 14 March 2013
ISBN: 9780819494702


Dielectric elastomer generators (DEG) provide an opportunity to harvest energy from low frequency sources. Because DEG are soft, deformable, high energy density generators, they can be coupled to complex structures such as the human body to harvest energy.

However, DEG are typically manufactured in a simple planar structure constrained by a rigid frame. This planar arrangement is unlikely to be optimal for harvesting from compliant and/or complex structures. We present a soft generator, fabricated using a 3D printing process. This capability will enable the generator’s 3-dimensional structure to be customised to the energy source, allowing efficient and/or non-invasive coupling.