PneuNets Bending Actuators

PneuNets (pneumatic networks) are a class of soft actuator originally developed by the Whitesides Research Group at Harvard. They are made up of a series of channels and chambers inside an elastomer. These channels inflate when pressurized, creating motion.

The nature of this motion is controlled by modifying the geometry of the embedded chambers and the material properties of their walls. When a PneuNets actuator is pressurized, expansion occurs in...

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In the Motivaion and Inspiration section, we explain about the motivation for the design of our 4-legged robot, RoboisE. The Design section contains an explanation of why we chose to use Dielectric Elastomer Actuators (DEAs) to drive the motion of our robot and how we employed DEAs to move the 4 limbs of the RoboisE, which resembles a tortoise (see Figure 1), to bring about directed motion. 

In the Fabrication...

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SDM Fingers

Shape Deposition Manufacturing (SDM) is a rapid prototyping process in which mechanisms are simultaneously fabricated and assembled through alternating steps of subtractive (milling) and additive (casting) manufacturing. One of the advantages of this process is that it is possible to embed items (such as sensors, motors, or structural reinforcements) into the mechanism you are building. Further information on SDM can be found here: [External link].

In this...

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Self-Healing Soft Pneumatic Robotics

It is a long-standing interest of the robotics community to investigate actuators with performances matching or exceeding the ones of biological muscles. Currently, the majority of robots are still powered by stiff actuators, which do not exploit the unique soft properties of the muscle-tendon system. However, compliant/soft robotic features are promising for locomotion, manipulation or wearable robotics to reach expected performances and safety during interaction with humans or uncertain and dynamic environments. 


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Showcase features many of the devices and components that are submitted to the site through the Soft Robotic Design Competition. Students in the undergraduate and high school category, build, document, design and test their devices in order to publish their work to the Toolkit platform.

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Smart Braids

“Smart Braids” are conductive reinforcing fibers that provide a way of sensing the deformation and force output of fiber-reinforced actuators without any external transducers. Typically the length of the actuator would be deduced from a sensor attached to a rigid link (like a potentiometer or an optical encoder). Smart Braids provide a soft sensor that sense the actuator contraction without external mechanical parts. A Smart Braid changes in inductance and resistance in response to the movement and force output in fiber-reinforced actuators. This can be...

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Soft Actuation Reacher Grabber

The concept of our project is to use soft robotics actuators without automation or electronics to create a product with advantages over traditional alternatives .In our case, the PneuNets Bending Actuators allow for a greater range of motion, and thus greater gripping ability than a traditional mechanical reacher grabber, like those used by the elderly and disabled. 

In the design section, we go over our concepts, prototypes, final design, and any problems with it, and potential improvements we could make. In fabrication, we show the bill of materials, the assembly process, and...

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Soft Barrier

We are Daniel Beltran, Salma Mahmood, and Michelle Ghanime and we are three New Jersey Institute of Technology students studying architecture and design in an undergrad program. Our project is the culmination of a semester's worth of studies in smart materials and soft robotics in the context of architecture. Much of this work was conducted in the 2015 spring semester under the direction of Martina Decker, a professor with interest in emergent materials and technologies. 


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