Sleeve muscle is a new class of pneumatic muscle actuator that provides significant performance improvement and new design characteristics in comparison with the traditional pneumatic muscle. Inspired by the force-generating mechanism of traditional pneumatic muscle, the sleeve muscle incorporates a unique insert structure to eliminate the loss of extension force capacity due to the air pressure applied to the moving end connector. Two types of sleeve muscle are presented in this paper, including a single-acting type that enables the integration of the actuator with the load bearing structure, and a double-acting type that provides a unique capability of bi-directional actuation. The designs of these sleeve muscle actuators are discussed, along with their potential applications in bio-robotic systems.

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