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Soft Robotics

Leonardo Cappello, Kevin C Galloway, Siddharth Sanan, Diana A Wagner, Rachael Granberry, Sven Engelhardt, Florian L Haufe, Jeffrey D Peisner, Conor J Walsh
Knit, woven, and nonwoven fabrics offer a diverse range of stretch and strain limiting mechanical properties that can be leveraged to produce tailored, whole-body deformation mechanics of soft robotic systems. This work presents new insights and methods for combining heterogeneous fabric material layers to create soft fabric-based actuators. This work demonstrates that a range of multi-degree-of-freedom motions can be generated by varying fabrics and their layered arrangements when a thin airtight bladder is inserted between them and inflated...
July 19, 2018: Soft Robotics
Hongying Zhang, A Senthil Kumar, Jerry Ying Hsi Fuh, Michael Yu Wang
In the past decade, a rich repertoire of soft robots, designed from biomimetic and intuitive approaches, has been developed to overcome challenges faced by their rigid-bodied counterparts. However, these design approaches are greatly limited by the designers' experience and inspiration. In this article, the structural design problem is mathematically modeled under the framework of topology optimization, and solved by a new implementation tool that combines Abaqus/CAE and Matlab coding. Herein, a pneumatic soft gripper with two identical fingers was developed as a practical application...
July 9, 2018: Soft Robotics
Francesco Corucci, Nick Cheney, Francesco Giorgio-Serchi, Josh Bongard, Cecilia Laschi
Designing soft robots poses considerable challenges; automated design approaches may be particularly appealing in this field, as they promise to optimize complex multimaterial machines with very little or no human intervention. Evolutionary soft robotics is concerned with the application of optimization algorithms inspired by natural evolution to let soft robots (both their morphologies and controllers) spontaneously evolve within physically realistic simulated environments, figuring out how to satisfy a set of objectives defined by human designers...
July 9, 2018: Soft Robotics
Jihong Yan, Xinbin Zhang, Binbin Xu, Jie Zhao
Soft robot has become a hot topic recently due to its distinct advantages over traditional rigid robots such as high deformability and good impact resistance. However, the coupled deflections of flexile materials bring challenges to soft robotic research in many aspects such as kinematic modeling, dynamic analysis, and control. Besides, unwanted deformations might enlarge external dimensions of soft robots, causing a reduction in the efficiency and bringing about unexpected or harmful contacts with surrounding environments that will significantly affect the robots' performance...
July 5, 2018: Soft Robotics
Suin Kim, Jinhyeok Oh, Dahee Jeong, Wookeun Park, Joonbum Bae
Given the need for stretchable sensors, many studies have been conducted on eutectic gallium-indium, which has superior properties as a conductive ink. However, it has remained a challenge to manufacture sensors in a consistent and reproducible manner because conventional mold-based fabrication still depends highly on manual techniques. To overcome this limitation, the direct ink writing was used in this study, focusing on improving the stability of writing by exploring issues related to failure and ensuring the consistency of the microchannel by selecting appropriate process variables, including the syringe material...
July 5, 2018: Soft Robotics
Ahmed A Shabana
Control and stability of flexible and soft robotic systems (FSRS), which have complex geometry and experience desirable and undesirable deformations, are of major concern, particularly when lightweight soft materials are used. Nonetheless, there is no unified continuum-based geometry/analysis approach that can be used for the efficient FSRS virtual prototyping and design. The goal of this article is to propose a new FSRS geometric modeling and analysis methodology by addressing fundamental virtual prototyping challenges that include: (1) integration of the robot geometry and analysis; (2) implementation of general and unconventional material models and actuation forces; (3) use of new concepts for modeling FSRS joints; and (4) development of efficient and robust algorithms for the FSRS virtual prototyping...
June 29, 2018: Soft Robotics
Jun Shintake, Vito Cacucciolo, Herbert Shea, Dario Floreano
This article presents the design, fabrication, and characterization of a soft biomimetic robotic fish based on dielectric elastomer actuators (DEAs) that swims by body and/or caudal fin (BCF) propulsion. BCF is a promising locomotion mechanism that potentially offers swimming at higher speeds and acceleration rates, and efficient locomotion. The robot consists of laminated silicone layers wherein two DEAs are used in an antagonistic configuration, generating undulating fish-like motion. The design of the robot is guided by a mathematical model based on the Euler-Bernoulli beam theory and takes account of the nonuniform geometry of the robot and of the hydrodynamic effect of water...
June 29, 2018: Soft Robotics
Tjaša Kermavnar, Valerie Power, Adam de Eyto, Leonard O'Sullivan
In this article, we report on a systematic review of the literature on pressure-pain thresholds induced and assessed by computerized cuff pressure algometry (CPA). The motivation for this review is to provide design guidance on pressure levels for wearable soft exoskeletons and similar wearable robotics devices. In our review, we focus on CPA studies of patients who are candidates for wearable soft exoskeletons, as pain-related physiological mechanisms reportedly differ significantly between healthy subjects and patients with chronic pain...
June 29, 2018: Soft Robotics
Yichao Tang, Qiuting Zhang, Gaojian Lin, Jie Yin
Climbing soft robots are of tremendous interest in both science and engineering due to their potential applications in intelligent surveillance, inspection, maintenance, and detection under environments away from the ground. The challenge lies in the design of a fast, robust, switchable adhesion actuator to easily attach and detach the vertical surfaces. Here, we propose a new design of pneumatic-actuated bioinspired soft adhesion actuator working both on ground and under water. It is composed of extremely soft bilayer structures with an embedded spiral pneumatic channel resting on top of a base layer with a cavity...
June 29, 2018: Soft Robotics
Kwanghyun Han, Nam-Ho Kim, Dongjun Shin
There is a growing interest in soft actuators for human-friendly robotic applications. However, it is very challenging for conventional soft actuators to achieve both a large working distance and high force. To address this problem, we present a high-contraction ratio pneumatic artificial muscle (HCRPAM), which has a novel actuation concept. The HCRPAM can contract substantially while generating a large force suitable for a wide range of robotic applications. Our proposed prototyping method allows for an easy and quick fabrication, considering various design variables...
June 20, 2018: Soft Robotics
Amir Ali Amiri Moghadam, Seyedhamidreza Alaie, Suborna Deb Nath, Mahdie Aghasizade Shaarbaf, James K Min, Simon Dunham, Bobak Mosadegh
Pneumatically actuated soft robots address many challenges with interfacing with delicate objects, but these actuators/robots are still bulky and require many hours to fabricate, limiting their widespread use. This article reports a novel design and manufacturing method for ultrathin soft robots and actuators (∼70 μm) using a laser-cutting machine that cuts/welds sheets of thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) from a 2D CAD drawing. Using this method, five different soft actuators (e.g., bending, rotating, contracting) are designed, fabricated, and characterized with both planar and nonplanar motions...
June 20, 2018: Soft Robotics
Yunquan Li, Yonghua Chen, Tao Ren, Yingtian Li, Shiu Hong Choi
The past decade has witnessed tremendous progress in soft robotics. Unlike most pneumatic-based methods, we present a new approach to soft robot design based on precharged pneumatics (PCP). We propose a PCP soft bending actuator, which is actuated by precharged air pressure and retracted by inextensible tendons. By pulling or releasing the tendons, the air pressure in the soft actuator is modulated, and hence, its bending angle. The tendons serve in a way similar to pressure-regulating valves that are used in typical pneumatic systems...
June 20, 2018: Soft Robotics
Valentin Riviere, Augustin Manecy, Stephane Viollet
The aerial robot presented here for the first time was based on a quadrotor structure, which is capable of unique morphing performances based on an actuated elastic mechanism. Like birds, which are able to negotiate narrow apertures despite their relatively large wingspan, our Quad-Morphing robot was able to pass through a narrow gap at a high forward speed of 2.5 m.s- 1 by swiftly folding up the structure supporting its propellers. A control strategy was developed to deal with the loss of controllability on the roll axis resulting from the folding process, while keeping the robot stable until it has crossed the gap...
May 30, 2018: Soft Robotics
Nicola Giuliani, Luca Heltai, Antonio DeSimone
Interest in the design of bioinspired robotic microswimmers is growing rapidly, motivated by the spectacular capabilities of their unicellular biological templates. Predicting the swimming speed and efficiency of such devices in a reliable way is essential for their rational design, and to optimize their performance. The hydrodynamic simulations needed for this purpose are demanding and simplified models that neglect nonlocal hydrodynamic interactions (e.g., resistive force theory for slender, filament-like objects that are the typical propulsive apparatus for unicellular swimmers) are commonly used...
May 15, 2018: Soft Robotics
Inderjeet Singh, Yacine Amara, Achille Melingui, Pushparaj Mani Pathak, Rochdi Merzouki
Research on continuum manipulators is increasingly developing in the context of bionic robotics because of their many advantages over conventional rigid manipulators. Due to their soft structure, they have inherent flexibility, which makes it a huge challenge to control them with high performances. Before elaborating a control strategy of such robots, it is essential to reconstruct first the behavior of the robot through development of an approximate behavioral model. This can be kinematic or dynamic depending on the conditions of operation of the robot itself...
May 10, 2018: Soft Robotics
Chih-Hsing Liu, Ta-Lun Chen, Chen-Hua Chiu, Mao-Cheng Hsu, Yang Chen, Tzu-Yang Pai, Wei-Geng Peng, Yen-Pin Chiang
This study presents the design of an underactuated, two-finger, motor-driven compliant gripper for grasping size-varied unknown objects. The gripper module consists of one main frame structure and two identical compliant fingers. The compliant finger is a monolithic compliant mechanism synthesized using a topology optimization method, and then prototyped by 3D printing using flexible filament. The input port for each finger is mounted on a moving platform driven by a gear motor, whereas the fixed port of the finger is mounted on a fixed platform...
May 9, 2018: Soft Robotics
Yao Li, Jinbin Wu, Hirotaka Sato
This study reports the first ever demonstration of the aero navigation of a free-flying insect based on feedback control. Instead of imitating the complicated kinetics and mechanisms of insect locomotion, a live insect can be directly transformed into a soft robot by embedding it with artificial devices. Since many insects can perform acrobatics aerially, thereby exhibiting far greater flexibility than current man-made flyers, correctly commanding the internal structures of an insect to perform based on the instructions would be a breakthrough...
May 3, 2018: Soft Robotics
Rainier Natividad, Manuel Del Rosario, Peter C Y Chen, Chen-Hua Yeow
A fully reconfigurable, pneumatic bending actuator is fabricated by implementing the concept of modularity to soft robotics. The actuator features independent, removable, fabric inflation modules that are attached to a common flexible but non-inflating plastic spine. The fabric modules are individually fabricated by heat sealing a thermoplastic polyurethane-coated nylon fabric, whereas the spine is manufactured through fused deposition modeling 3D printing; the components can be assembled and dismantled without the aid of any external tools...
June 2018: Soft Robotics
Guanjun Bao, Hui Fang, Lingfeng Chen, Yuehua Wan, Fang Xu, Qinghua Yang, Libin Zhang
Soft robotics is of growing interest in the robot community as well as in public media, and there is an increase in the quality and quantity of publications related to this topic. To formally elaborate this growth, we have used a bibliometric analysis to evaluate the publications in the field from 1990 to 2017 based on the Science Citation Index Expanded database. We present a detailed overview and discussion based on keywords, citation, h-index, year, journal, institution, country, author, and review articles...
June 2018: Soft Robotics
Michelle Jennifer Luk, Derek Lobb, James Andrew Smith
Physical simulation systems are commonly used in training of midwifery and obstetrics students, but none of these systems offers a dynamic compliance aspect that would make them more truly representative of cervix ripening. In this study, we introduce a unique soft robot phantom that simulates the cervix softening during the latent labor phase of birth. This proof-of-concept robotic phantom can be dilated by 1 cm and effaced by 35% through the application of a Foley catheter-like loading mechanism. Furthermore, psychophysics trials demonstrate how untrained subjects can identify hard and soft states of the phantom with specificities of 91% and 87%, respectively...
June 2018: Soft Robotics
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