Exploiting Textile Mechanical Anisotropy for Fabric-Based Pneumatic Actuators


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. Specifically, we present bending and straightening fabric-based actuators that are simple to manufacture, lightweight, require low operating pressures, display a high torque-to-weight ratio, and occupy a low volume in their unpressurized state. Their utility is demonstrated through their integration into a glove that actively assists hand opening and closing.


Last updated on 09/19/2018