K-12 Virtual Classroom Program


Introduction to Soft Robotics is one of a kind program that empowers teachers to bring soft robotics to young learners. The program is divided into two stages: 

Stage 1 (Starter Kit) where students build a soft gripper and learn about the basics of soft robotics including manufacturing with soft materials, biodesign, using cables and motors to create movement and finally automation using sensors and microcontrollers. 

Stage 2 (Extension Kit) provides students an opportunity to learn...

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Knit Textile Bending Actuators

Knit textile bending actuators are a class of soft actuator that is being developed by the Biodesign lab at Harvard University. The basis of the design utilizes layers of fabric with different stretch properties to achieve complex motions such as bending, twisting, extending, or any combination of the three. A single actuator with multiple motions can be made by adding multiple layers and creating multiple pockets to put additional balloons into. 

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Low cost Electro-pneumatic circuit for Soft Robots

Rather than using manual pumps or squeeze bulbs to actuate your next soft robot project, a cheap and quick design using your Arduino microcontroller can be used. The circuit works well for any pneumatically powered robot with input pressures between 0 - 60KPa. If you already have an Arduino and a power supply, the design can be implemented with less than $50. Estimated time to complete the design is 2 hours or less.


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Miniature Soft Bending Actuator with Embedded Coiled Muscles

This project, inspired by PneuNets Bending Actuators from the Soft Robotics Toolkit, introduces a method of producing soft bending motion with simply and inexpensively produced components, simultaneously eliminating the constraints introduced by pneumatic elements. The goal is to produce actuation in a very small silicone part similar to that of PneuNets with voltage-driven artificial muscles, allowing power to be delivered by a battery rather than a bulky source of compressed gas.

In the Background section, we introduce the budding field of coiled-thread artificial muscles and some...

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Long Solenoid Approximation

Each right-handed helix of the Smart Braid is connected to an adjacent left-handed helix. In this configuration, the current moves up the actuator along one hand of helix and down the actuator along the other hand. The current always circles the axis of the actuator in the same direction like a solenoid. This allows us to use the Long Solenoid equation to  predict the change in inductance....

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Modeling and Design Tool for Soft Pneumatic Actuators

Soft actuators are an integral component of soft robotic systems. Although the scalability, customizability, and diversity of soft pneumatic actuators (SPA) are widely recognized, comprehensive techniques for modeling and designing soft actuators are lacking. Characterizing and predicting the behavior of soft actuators is challenging due to the nonlinear nature of the materials used and the large range of motions they produce. In this work, mathematical tools and new design concepts are employed to improve the performance of these actuators compared to existing...

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Modeling, Simulation and Control of Soft Robots with SOFA

This page consists ofa new framework to simulate and control soft robots. This framework is based on a mechanical modeling of the robot elements combined with fast real-time direct/inverse FEM solvers. The keypoint of our approach is that the same modeling is used for interactive simulation of its behavior and interactive control of the fabricated robots. The simulation framework also allows to model the robot's environment and their interactions. The theoretical aspects of our contribution are presented in the following papers [...

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Multi-Module Variable Stiffness Manipulator

This project presents a soft multi-multimodule manipulator with a controllable stiffness. The materials and design are bioinspired and try to reproduce some biological capabilities of the octopus, such as elongation, omni-directional bending and stiffness variation.

The manipulator integrates three modules made by Silicone Ecoflex 0050. The arm is pneumatically actuated with low pressures (0 - 650 mbar) and it is able to bend and elongate. An external braided sheath optimizes the 3D motion performance. A granular jamming mechanism is integrated inside each module...

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Pneumatic Artificial Muscles

McKibben air muscles were invented for orthotics in the 1950s. They have the advantages of being lightweight, easy to fabricate, are self limiting (have a maximum contraction) and have load-length curves similar to human muscle. The muscles consist of an inflatable inner tube/bladder inside a braided mesh, clamped at the ends. When the inner bladder is pressurized and expands, the geometry of the mesh acts like a scissor linkage and translates this radial expansion into linear contraction.


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