A physical prototype of a human esophagus has been developed for reproducing the human swallowing process with the aim of studying various disorders that impair its function as well as for the development of new foods and technologies for their treatment. Several studies related to the peristalsis phenomena have been conducted in recent years by studying the effect of different parameters defining the peristaltic wave. Mathematical models have been developed to investigate the impact of an integral and a non-integral number of waves during the swallowing of food stuff such as jelly, tomato puree, among others. Swallowing through the esophagus has not only been studied numerically but also reported by using a pneumatic soft actuators. In the present work, the development of a soft actuator mechanism to reproduce the peristaltic wave as the one reported by F.J. Chen et. al. 2014 is described. Such a mechanism consists of a rubber structure that contains an array of chambers actuated by pressurized air to generate the peristaltic wave. The final chamber shape was determined after an iterative process, which involves the elastomer properties, different chamber shapes, finite element analysis and image processing. The characterization of the developed peristaltic mechanism was made by correlating a theoretical study of swallowing peristaltic model and the waveform obtained from the X-ray radiography analysis as the mechanism is actuated. As result, the soft actuator mechanism can reproduce a peristaltic waveform with a correlation coefficient near to 0.9 with respect to the mathematical model reported in literature. In addition, the manufacturing process based on additive manufacturing technologies is also presented.

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