Wireless Miniature Magnetic Phase-Change Soft Actuators

Adv Mater. 2022 Oct;34(40):e2204185. doi: 10.1002/adma.202204185. Epub 2022 Sep 1.


Wireless miniature soft actuators are promising for various potential high-impact applications in medical, robotic grippers, and artificial muscles. However, these miniature soft actuators are currently constrained by a small output force and low work capacity. To address such challenges, a miniature magnetic phase-change soft composite actuator is reported. This soft actuator exhibits an expanding deformation and enables up to a 70 N output force and 175.2 J g-1 work capacity under remote magnetic radio frequency heating, which are 106 -107 times that of traditional magnetic soft actuators. To demonstrate its capabilities, a wireless soft robotic device is first designed that can withstand 0.24 m s-1 fluid flows in an artery phantom. By integrating it with a thermally-responsive shape-memory polymer and bistable metamaterial sleeve, a wireless reversible bistable stent is designed toward future potential angioplasty applications. Moreover, it can additionally locomote inside and jump out of granular media. At last, the phase-change actuator can realize programmable bending deformations when a specifically designed magnetization profile is encoded, enhancing its shape-programming capability. Such a miniature soft actuator provides an approach to enhance the mechanical output and versatility of magnetic soft robots and devices, extending their medical and other potential applications.

Keywords: high work capacity; magnetic soft composites; miniature wireless soft devices; phase-change materials; programmable shape deformation.

MeSH terms

  • Magnetic Phenomena
  • Mechanical Phenomena
  • Muscles
  • Robotics*
  • Smart Materials*


  • Smart Materials