Skip to main content

Dr Federico Carpi


Research Overview

Actuator, artificial muscle, bioinspired, dielectric elastomer, electroactive polymer, soft smart material


Dr Carpi is the head of

SMART – Soft Matter ARtificial muscles & Transducers Research Group

The main research focus of the group is on biomedical & bioinspired mechatronic devices made of smart materials. The group moves from the experience that Dr Carpi has matured in twelve years of research activity at the University of Pisa, Italy.

The activities of the group are oriented to the development of innovative devices based on electromechanically active polymer transducers (EAPs) and, in particular, dielectric elastomer (DE) transducers. DE actuators exhibit a mechanical response to an electrical stimulus, while offering, at the same time, light weight, mechanical compliance, compact size, simple structure, low power consumption, acoustically silent operation, and low cost. Because of their ability to exhibit significant actuation upon electrical stimulation and emulate the main functional properties of natural muscles, DEs are referred to as ‘smart materials’ as well as ‘artificial muscle materials’.

We study DE transducers as a highly-promising solution to the need for new electromechanical transduction technologies to enable a huge variety of applications not feasible or even imaginable with conventional technologies. In particular, the activities of the group cover the design, prototyping and testing of new devices and applications. Examples include bioinspired electrically tuneable lenses (Fig. 1), electrically refreshable Braille cells (Fig. 2) and wearable tactile displays (Fig. 3).

Fig. 1. Bioinspired tuneable lens       

Fig. 2. Refreshable Braille cell

Fig. 3. Wearable tactile display

Further information, including videos, is available at