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Electric motors/servo motors can easily make position control using an encoder and manipulating the phases of the motor, but a Dielectric Elastomer Actuator can only activate and disactivate as far as I am aware.

The only position controls that I could find involving DEA's were decreasing the power input, but this severely decreases the strength output of the actuator.

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The only position controls that I could find involving DEA's were decreasing the power input, but this severely decreases the strength output of the actuator.

At a surface level, you can do similar control as anything else, like a PID controller that changes the voltage to drive you toward a setpoint. Here's a paper where they take the square root of the PID output so that they're linearizing the quadratic voltage dependence of the strain, but otherwise it's a pretty straightforward controller:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1474667016433513

There's work on self-sensing so you don't need external encoders/position measurement:

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/frobt.2019.00133/full

And there's research out there on better control of DEAs without overshoot, which I think is complicated by their history-dependence and nonlinearity. Here's one using fractional calculus:

https://www.mdpi.com/2076-0825/10/1/18

A feedback controller like a PID controller with enough gain will saturate at the maximum safe voltage or drop the voltage to zero for even relatively small position errors, so you can choose how aggressive the controller attempts to be.

Practically, though, dielectric elastomer actuators have very little range of motion and very little useful mechanical work output, so they're kind of inherently limited compared to other actuators.

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