Every two years there is the Actuator Conference in Bremen. The main topic of the conference are small actuators for all kinds of application – and of course also for haptic applications.
For haptics, several actuators based on polymeric materials were shown. Electrostatic Actuators based on thin silicone films are known for some time , but several papers about improved manufacturing , modeling and optimizations , especially for higher loads, were presented.
A somehow trending top
ic were magneto-rheological polymer materials. These materials consist of magnetizable particles in an elastomer matrix. They work similar to magneto-rheological fluids, but without the mess and with a base elasticity, that is useful for many applications such as joysticks  or knobs .
Maxon presented a new haptic device, that uses two MRF clutches to achieve a virtually play-free actuation with high torque capabilities and fast reaction time. This drive seems very interesting for robotics and serial kinematic applications .
A couple of intesting applications were also presented. KU Leuween and Haption showed a comanipulaition system for training of laser surgery on unborn children . Lithuanian researchers presented a tube-like structure, which pose can be commanded by ERF actuators .
Furthermore, two papers drew our attention: A flex-PCB was used by researchers of Université Catholique de Louvain to build up a brushless DC-motor . They increase the filling factor of the motor and find an incrase in power densiy of 28%, which promises smaller actuators. Fraunhofer IPA presented hydraulic actuators for medical applications, which exhibit a high power density and large forces. To overcome leakage, a capacitive sensor is included in the actuator .
Despite these mentions, there were a lot of interesting topics in the Actuator Conference (for example a miniature balancing device for high speed rotors by two of our colleagues ) that are worth a read.
 A. Köllnberger, H. F. Schlaak: Elastomers for Dielectric Electroactive Polymer Applications (Review). Proceedings Actuator Conference, Bremen, 2016, p.274
 B. von Heckel, H. Bochmann, T. Hoffstadt, J. Maas: Customized Dielectric
Elastomer Stack-Actuators under Consideration of Application Specifications. Proceedings Actuator Conference, Bremen, 2016, p. 278
 X. Zhang, A. Verhagen, Q. Zhu, S. Hau, S. Seelecke: Design and Control Strategies for a Novel Actuator System with Dielectric Electroactive Polymer and Spring. Proceedings Actuator Conference, Bremen, 2016, p. 514
 J. Bilz, H. Böse, M. Kupnik, C. Hatzfeld: Magneto-Rheological Elastomer Actuators for a Reconfigurable Joystick. Proceedings Actuator Conference, Bremen, 2016, p. 294
 H. Böse, W. Hartmann, J. Ehrlich: Haptic Actuators Based on Magnetoactive Polymers. Proceedings Actuator Conference, Bremen, 2016, p. 290
 M.E. Busse-Grawitz, R. Pittini, R. Waldvogel, D. Martin: Magnetorheological Actuator for Haptic Applications. Proceedings Actuator Conference, Bremen, 2016, p. 361
 C. Gruijthuijsen, A. Javaux, G. Borghesan, T. Vercauteren, D. Stoyanov, S. Ourselin, J. Deprest, J. Perret, D. Reynaerts, E. Vander Poorten: Haptic Guidance in Comanipulated Laser Surgery for Fetal Disorders. Proceedings Actuator Conference, Bremen, 2016, p. 192
 R. Bansevicius, A. Drukteiniene, V. Jurenas, G. Kulvietis: New Class of Trunk-Like Robots: Structure, Control, Actuators. Proceedings Actuator Conference, Bremen, 2016, p. 483
 F. Baudart, B. Dehez: FlexPCB Windings, the Way Towards Very High Performance Coreless BLDC Motors. Proceedings Actuator Conference, Bremen, 2016, p. 487
 L.M. Comella, K. Ayvazov, R. Kessel, T. Cuntz, A. van Poelgeest: Micro-Hydraulic Drives with Integrated Displacement Sensor for Medical Application. Proceedings Actuator Conference, Bremen, 2016, p. 163
 D. ActuatorCutPfeffer, F. Klug, H.F. Schlaak, P.P. Pott: Design of a Balancing Device for Small High Speed Rotors. Proceedings Actuator Conference, Bremen, 2016, p. 596