Fluidic Control Board

The Soft Robotics Toolkit Control Board is an open source hardware platform that can be used to operate and control fluidic soft actuators, such as the PneuNets Bending Actuator or the Fiber-Reinforced Actuators described on this site. The purpose of the control board is to act as a prototyping and testing tool, and to provide students with a hands-on understanding of how to control fluid-operated soft robots. It also enables designers to quickly test the behavior of pneumatic soft actuators.

The board consists of a pump (which provides pressurized fluid to the system) and a set of solenoid valves (which can open and close to direct the flow of fluid in the system). The pressure in the system is regulated by Pulse-Width Modulation (PWM), which involves the controlled timing of the opening and closing of the valves. Pressure sensors provide feedback on the behavior of the system. The board can be controlled manually (by adjusting switches and knobs) or automated via software running on the included Arduino microcontroller.

This section of the website contains the files and instructions required to build your own control board for use with your own fluid-operated soft robots. To build the board all that is needed is some basic electronics skills (such as soldering two wires together). The bill of materials section provides the list of required components. Operating the board is relatively straightforward. We provide some example code that can be used to control the system, and provide guidelines on how to modify this code to suit your projects.

Designers wishing to purchase an all-in-one set of components can do so on the Paradox Robotics website.  Paradox Robotics is not affiliated in any way with the Soft Robotics Toolkit or Harvard University. 

Control Board PWM Code.txt2 KB