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Soft Robotics

Erina B Joyee, Yayue Pan
In the field of robotics, researchers are aiming to develop soft or partially soft bodied robots that utilize the motion and control system of various living organisms in nature. These robots have the potential to be robust and versatile, even safer for human interaction compared to traditional rigid robots. Soft robots based on biomimetic principles are being designed for real life applications by paying attention to different shape, geometry, and actuation systems in these organisms that respond to surrounding environments and stimuli...
February 5, 2019: Soft Robotics
Ali Shiva, S M Hadi Sadati, Yohan Noh, Jan Fraś, Ahmad Ataka, Helge Würdemann, Helmut Hauser, Ian D Walker, Thrishantha Nanayakkara, Kaspar Althoefer
Various methods based on hyperelastic assumptions have been developed to address the mathematical complexities of modeling motion and deformation of continuum manipulators. In this study, we propose a quasistatic approach for 3D modeling and real-time simulation of a pneumatically actuated soft continuum robotic appendage to estimate the contact force and overall pose. Our model can incorporate external load at any arbitrary point on the body and deliver positional and force propagation information along the entire backbone...
January 31, 2019: Soft Robotics
Haili Li, Jiantao Yao, Pan Zhou, Xinbo Chen, Yundou Xu, Yongsheng Zhao
The improvement of the load capacity of soft grippers has always been a challenge. To tackle this load capacity challenge, this work presents four novel types of high-load (HL) soft grippers that are bioinspired by bionic winding models. The winding models are found commonly in many animals and plants, where different winding patterns are used to grip different objects. Inspired by the winding models, we design four bionic winding structures that are driven by pneumatic artificial muscles (PAMs), and then four HL soft grippers are formed out of the winding structures...
January 16, 2019: Soft Robotics
Bryan Peele, Shuo Li, Chris Larson, Jason Cortell, Ed Habtour, Robert Shepherd
Although physical buttons provide tactile sensations that allow them to be identified and pressed without visual focus, their static nature limits their use for dynamic interfaces. Conversely, touchscreens offer highly flexible, task-specific interfaces, but they do not provide the tactile qualities needed for vision-free interaction. Here, we present a stretchable display that can change shape from a flat sheet into a dome when pressurized. The vanishing interface we designed uses hyperelastic light-emitting capacitors (HLECs) that actively emit light, sense strain, and detect finger presses...
December 19, 2018: Soft Robotics
Ross M McKenzie, Mohammed E Sayed, Markus P Nemitz, Brian W Flynn, Adam A Stokes
Robots performing automated tasks in uncontrolled environments need to adapt to environmental changes. Through building large collectives of robots, this robust and adaptive behavior can emerge from simple individual rules. These collectives can also be reconfigured, allowing for adaption to new tasks. Larger collectives are more robust and more capable, but the size of existing collectives is limited by the cost of individual units. In this article, we present a soft, modular robot that we have explicitly designed for manufacturability: Linbots...
December 18, 2018: Soft Robotics
Bingbin Yu, José de Gea Fernández, Tao Tan
Continuum robots offer compliant and dexterous operations, which are suitable to be used in unstructured environments. Tendon-driven catheters, owing to their continuum structure, are applied in minimal invasive surgeries such as intracardiac interventions. However, due to the intrinsic nonlinearities and external disturbances, it is still a challenging task to accurately steer the catheter tip to the desired 3D positions. In this article, we proposed a new probabilistic kinematic model and a model-based three-dimensional position control scheme for a tendon-driven cardiac catheter...
December 18, 2018: Soft Robotics
Brian Byunghyun Kang, Hyungmin Choi, Haemin Lee, Kyu-Jin Cho
This article presents Exo-Glove Poly (EGP) II, a soft wearable robot for the hand with a glove that is completely constructed of polymer materials and that operates through tendon-driven actuation for use in spinal cord injury (SCI). EGP II can restore the ability to pinch and grasp any object for people with SCI in daily life. The design of the glove allows it to be compact and extends the range of hand sizes that can fit. A passive thumb structure was developed to oppose the thumb for improved grasping. To increase the robustness of the glove, EGP II was designed to have a minimal number of components using a single material...
December 18, 2018: Soft Robotics
A Xavier Kohll, Nicholas H Cohrs, Roland Walker, Anastasios Petrou, Michael Loepfe, Marianne Schmid Daners, Volkmar Falk, Mirko Meboldt, Wendelin J Stark
We present a long-term performance study on a pneumatically actuated soft pump (SP). The pump was manufactured by adapting rubber compression technology. Important parameters influencing pump performance (e.g., inflation and deflation times and fluid outlet pressures) were studied. Based on design improvement and material selection, SP durability could be enhanced for over 1 million actuation cycles. This resulted in conveyance of more than 140,000 L of water in less than 12 days. In a next step, we analyzed our SP on a hybrid mock circulation and achieved 1...
December 1, 2018: Soft Robotics
Stanislao Grazioso, Giuseppe Di Gironimo, Bruno Siciliano
Mathematical modeling of soft robots is complicated by the description of the continuously deformable three-dimensional shape that they assume when subjected to external loads. In this article we present the deformation space formulation for soft robots dynamics, developed using a finite element approach. Starting from the Cosserat rod theory formulated on a Lie group, we derive a discrete model using a helicoidal shape function for the spatial discretization and a geometric scheme for the time integration of the robot shape configuration...
November 28, 2018: Soft Robotics
Álvaro Villoslada, Cayetano Rivera, Naiara Escudero, Fernando Martín, Dolores Blanco, Luis Moreno
Human exploration of the Solar System is one of the most challenging objectives included in the space programs of the most important space agencies in the world. Since the Apollo program, and especially with the construction and operation of the International Space Station, extravehicular activities (EVA) have become an important part of space exploration. This article presents a soft hand exoskeleton designed to address one of the problems that astronauts face during spacewalks: hand fatigue caused by the pressurized EVA gloves...
November 20, 2018: Soft Robotics
Hen-Wei Huang, Mark W Tibbitt, Tian-Yun Huang, Bradley J Nelson
Stimuli-responsive hydrogels are promising candidates for use in the targeted delivery of drugs using microrobotics. These devices enable the delivery and sustained release of quantities of drugs several times greater than their dry weight and are responsive to external stimuli. However, existing systems have two major drawbacks: (1) severe drug leakage before reaching the targeted areas within the body and (2) impeded locomotion through liquids due to the inherent hydrophilicity of hydrogels. This article outlines an approach to the assembly of hydrogel-based microcapsules in which one device is assembled within another to prevent drug leakage during transport...
November 20, 2018: Soft Robotics
Tiefeng Li, Zhanan Zou, Guoyong Mao, Xuxu Yang, Yiming Liang, Chi Li, Shaoxing Qu, Zhigang Suo, Wei Yang
A key challenge in bioinspired insect-scale running robots is to make them both agile and resilient. In this study, we develop a dielectric elastomer actuated soft robot that mimics inchworms. We use an elastomer to make the soft body, a stretchable dielectric to provide electrostatic actuation of high power density, and multizone actuation to achieve ratcheting locomotion. We fabricate the body, muscles, and feet in a single piece, with no internal open space. The robot runs four times its body length per second and turns at a radius about three times its body length in 0...
November 8, 2018: Soft Robotics
Aida Cavallo, Margherita Brancadoro, Selene Tognarelli, Arianna Menciassi
In recent years, minimally invasive surgery (MIS) has gained wider acceptance among surgeons. MIS requires high skills for the operators, mainly due to its intrinsic technical limitations. Tissue manipulation and retraction remain the most challenging tasks; more specifically liver, stomach, and intestine are the organs mostly involved in retraction tasks for abdominal procedures. The literature reports an increasing interest toward dedicated solutions for abdominal tissue retraction tasks. To overcome the limitations of commercial systems and research prototypes, the aim of this study is the design, the realization, and the validation of a retraction system that is simple, reliable, easy to use, safe, and broadly compatible with MIS...
November 8, 2018: Soft Robotics
Yongkang Jiang, Diansheng Chen, Che Liu, Jian Li
The ability to regulate the mechanical stiffness in a large range could be extremely important for soft robots to interact with the environment more effectively. In this article, we propose a novel chain-like granular jamming mechanism to achieve a large range of stiffness variation instantly, based on a method that is totally different from existing vacuum-based granular jamming systems. Theoretical modeling is introduced to find the best combination of granules to form the chain-like structure (CLS) and experiments are conducted to demonstrate it...
November 8, 2018: Soft Robotics
Lijun Teng, Kewen Pan, Markus P Nemitz, Rui Song, Zhirun Hu, Adam A Stokes
Increasing amounts of attention are being paid to the study of Soft Sensors and Soft Systems. Soft Robotic Systems require input from advances in the field of Soft Sensors. Soft sensors can help a soft robot to perceive and to act upon its immediate environment. The concept of integrating sensing capabilities into soft robotic systems is becoming increasingly important. One challenge is that most of the existing soft sensors have a requirement to be hardwired to power supplies or external data processing equipment...
November 8, 2018: Soft Robotics
Joseph D Greer, Tania K Morimoto, Allison M Okamura, Elliot W Hawkes
Soft continuum robots exhibit access and manipulation capabilities in constrained and cluttered environments not achievable by traditional robots. However, navigation of these robots can be difficult due to the kinematics of these devices. Here we describe the design, modeling, and control of a soft continuum robot with a tip extension degree of freedom. This design enables extremely simple navigation of the robot through decoupled steering and forward movement. To navigate to a destination, the robot is steered to point at the destination and the extension degree of freedom is used to reach it...
October 24, 2018: Soft Robotics
Jin-Gyu Lee, Hugo Rodrigue
A novel linear actuator called origami-based vacuum pneumatic artificial muscle (OV-PAM) is proposed in this study that can produce large forces (>400 N) with a contraction ratio >90% of the active length of the actuator. Moreover, some of the designs presented in this article can lift large loads with large contraction ratios at extremely low vacuum pressure (≈10 kPa). This actuator consists of a sealed origami film chamber connecting a polygonal top and bottom plate with evenly spaced transversal reinforcements that prevent the chamber from contracting laterally at certain points of the actuator under vacuum pressure...
October 19, 2018: Soft Robotics
Jinrong Li, Liwu Liu, Yanju Liu, Jinsong Leng
Soft robotics is an emerging area that attracts more and more attention. The intrinsic flexibility and compliance of soft materials and structures would endow novel functions with soft robots. Dielectric elastomers could deform sustainably subjected to external electrical stimuli and become promising materials for soft robots due to the large actuation strain, low elastic modulus, fast response, and high energy density. This article focuses on the fabrication, applications, and design of the dielectric elastomer spring-roll bending actuators...
October 18, 2018: Soft Robotics
Lianqing Liu, Chuang Zhang, Wenxue Wang, Ning Xi, Yuechao Wang
Biosyncretic robots have potential advantages associated with both living organisms and electromechanical systems. Skeletal muscle tissue is a candidate as bioactuators for biosyncretic robots because of its excellent contraction force and controllability. However, the low quality of myoblast (C2C12) differentiation into contractile myotubes and the lack of control research on biosyncretic robots are two of the main challenges in the development of biosyncretic robots. In this study, an approach with circularly distributed multiple electrodes (CEs) is proposed to improve C2C12 differentiation and to control the movement of a myotube-based biosyncretic crawling robot...
October 18, 2018: Soft Robotics
Michael Andy McEvoy, Nikolaus Correll
We describe a robotic material that tightly integrates sensing, actuation, computation, and communication to perform autonomous shape change. The composite consists of multiple cells, each with the ability to control their local stiffness (by Joule heating of a thermoplastic) and communicate with their local neighbors. We also present a distributed algorithm for calculating the inverse kinematic solution of the resulting N-body system by iteratively solving a series of problems with reduced kinematics. We describe material design choices, mechanism design, algorithm, and manufacturing, emphasizing the interdisciplinary codesign problem that robotic materials pose, and demonstrate the results from a series of shape-changing experiments...
October 12, 2018: Soft Robotics
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