Picture of a complete bioreactor prototype with the actuator and culture chamber (in teh center) incorporated - top view
Physiological interfaces in the human body are characterized by dynamic conditions, exposing epithelial cell barriers to continuous mechanical stimuli. This study focuses on the development of a system for cell deformation using EAP (Electro Active Polymer) technology. Ultimately, the device will be used to develop a realistic in vitro model of different biological interfaces. Our proposal is a DEA (dielectric elastomer) composed of a VHB membrane cast on a rigid frame sandwiched between annular compliant electrodes, thus creating a central passive area dedicated for the cell culture. The area for the cell seeding should be porous to allow the creation of an interface across which substances can permeate. This work presents an approach to create pores on the actuator, rendering the system a two-compartment device.