Motivated by two applications (retinal prosthesis and nondestructive damage detection), this research develops a new actuator utilizing magnetic/electric fields as media to enable open-loop induction control of a relatively high-resolution eddy-current pattern on an electrically conductive surface with a relatively small number of electromagnets (EMs). The actuator referred to here as a magnetic/eddy-current (M/EC) continuous field scanner transduces an image into an M/EC pattern induced by a two-dimensional EM array. Unlike traditional digital stimulation devices where the spatial resolution is defined by discrete spacing between two adjacent electrodes, the continuous-field scanner accurately controls the synthetized M/EC fields between adjacent EMs. Along with a detailed presentation of an analytical model and its inverse solutions to enable the continuous-field scanning, this paper presents a numerical study to investigate the effects of key design parameters, and some preliminary experimental results to validate the concept feasibility of the proposed method.

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