Wearable Pneumatic Control Valves Driven by Small Power

Shujiro Dohtaa, Tetsuya Akagib and Hirofumi Uedac

Department of Intelligent Mechanical Engineering, Okayama University of Science 1-1, Ridai-cho, Kita-ku, Okayama 700-0005, Japan.


Recently, it has been desired to develop a wearable control component to build an assisting system to support the activities of daily life for the elderly and the disabled. In a pneumatic assisting system, a control valve is very important. Such a valve is required to be lightweight, compact, safe and flexible. It also needs lower energy consumption. The purpose of our study is to develop a small-sized control valve driven by small power. In this paper, a fundamental concept of the proposed valve is described and two types of the control valve based on the concept are introduced. One is the valve utilizing a vibration motor, and another is one utilizing a permanent magnet. In these valves, a moving part can be actuated by smaller force compared with the conventional valve, and the valve needs no sealing. In addition, the valve using the permanent magnet can realize the extremely lower energy consumption, because it can keep an opened or closed state without any electrical energy.

Keywords: Control valve, Pneumatics, Wearable device, Small-sized valve, Low energy consumption.

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