Wireless powering of ionic polymer metal composites toward hovering microswimmers

Karl Abdelnour, Adam Stinchcombe, Maurizio Porfiri, Jun Zhang, Stephen Childress

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


In this paper, we present the design of a wireless powering system for ionic polymer metal composites (IPMCs). The system design is motivated by the need for enabling technologies to replicate hovering flight and swimming in biological systems. IPMC wireless powering is achieved by using radio frequency magnetically coupled coils and in-house designed power electronics for low-frequency IPMC actuation. Parameters of the circuit components describing the resonantly coupled coils and the IPMC are experimentally identified. The power transfer from the external power source to the receiver at the IPMC is experimentally analyzed for a broad range of system parameters. Flow visualization and particle image velocimetry are used to ascertain the system capabilities. Moreover, the IPMC vibration in the wireless and wired configurations is compared.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5779740
Pages (from-to)924-935
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Actuator
  • hovering
  • ionic polymer metal composite (IPMC)
  • underwater robotics
  • wireless powering


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