Research Contributions 2016



The TacTip is a 3d-printed optical tactile sensor developed at Bristol Robotics Laboratory (Bristol, UK). It aims to fulfil the need for a cheap, robust, versatile tactile sensor, mountable on industrial robot arms and aimed at eventual integration into robot hands for manipulation. The sensor contacts objects with a compliant tip made from 3d-printed rubber-like material (Tango Black +) filled with a clear silicon gel (RTV27905). The inside of the tip comprises of a series of geometrically arranged white-tipped pins. Pins deform when an object is contacted, and are tracked using an off-the-shelf Microsoft LIfecam Cinema webcam. Different patterns of pin displacement  can provide information on object shape, object localization, contact force, torque and shear. Read more -->

Runner Up

Tunable Segmented Soft Actuators

Typically, when fabricating soft actuators the aim is to design them such that their relation between input and output is as close to linear as possible. Therefore, pneumatic actuators are designed such that they have a linear relation between pressure and volume. While this simplifies the control of these actuators, it also limits the range of responses that can be achieved. This project takes the opposite approach, designing soft pneumatic actuators with a highly nonlinear response. This allows for a larger range of responses, and as such the actuators can be embedded with a mechanical “intelligence”. This project (Harvard University, MA, USA)  presents extending actuator segments with a slightly different response (pressure-volume relation), that when combined, can result in segmented actuators with highly different (nonlinear) responses. Read more -->

Honorable Mentions

Self-Healing Soft Pneumatic Robotics (Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium)


Inflatibits - A Modular Soft Robotic Construction Toy (Bauhaus-Universtität Weimar, Germany)