Designing and building devices that utilize electroactive polymer actuators brings into sharp focus the performance required of these materials. Using the example of a "rehabilitation glove", it is shown that the performance of polypyrrole actuators fall short of that required. In particular, the need to simultaneously produce 5% actuator strain at a 5 MPa isotonic stress cannot be achieved with the actuators investigated in our laboratories to date. However, significant improvements in the performance under load have been achieved with the use of ionic liquid electrolytes. The use of new materials such as composites of conducting polymers and carbon nanotubes offers the possibility of further improvements in actuator performance. Finally, redesigning the glove actuator offers a compromise solution that allows existing actuators to be used in a prototype device.