Pneumatic Wrist Brace Fabrication Guide


Important Considerations:

Difficulty: Beginner  
Min. Age: Age 10  
Time:  2 Hours  
Est. Cost per 20 Students: $24  
Component Category: Actuator  
Control Category:  Pneumatics  
Essential Learning: Material Exploration & Patterning  
Safety Equipment:  Aprons  


The Pneumatic Wrist Brace Fabrication Guide is an beginner level instructional guide for the introduction of soft robotics within the home or classroom. The brace introduces a medical application for soft robots and involves the construction of a simple brace that, once finished, can be worn, inflated and tested on the wrist. 

Supporting Documents:

This page provides the Pneumatic Wrist Brace Fabrication Guide, a template for the fabric pattern and a bill of materials for all of the necessary equipment and supplies. These can both be download using the "DOWNLOAD" button to the left. 

Overview of Materials:

  • Elastic cord
  • Fabric scissors
  • Hand pump
  • Heat-weldable fabric
  • Iron
  • Parchment paper
  • Tubing


  • Students should begin this activity with a basic knowledge of soft robotics and understanding of relevant vocabulary (i.e. actuators, sensors, controls).
  • Students may also benefit from an overview of the medical applications for soft robots before completing the activity.

Essential Learning Objectives:

Students will learn to use a pattern template to cut and assemble layers of material to create the inflatable brace. Students will also be able to explore the material properties through experimentation with the heat-weldable fabric and parchment paper, analyzing how the iron changes the properties of the fabric. Lastly, by testing the device's ability to provide stabilization to the wrist, students will experience the pneumatic forces, as well as learn to troubleshoot and brainstorm possible solutions if needed. 

Construct Inflatable Explore Material Properties Evaluate Final Result


Overview of Steps:

The following is an overview of the steps associated with the guide. For more details regarding each step and for a copy of the documents this overview references. please download the fabrication guide using the "DOWNLOAD"  button above. 

step_3.png The Pneumatic Wrist Brace paper template is cut on the dotted lines. The paper template is traced on the fabric, flipped and traced again. The template is then cut from the fabric, producing two sides to the brace's bladder. 
step_7_01.png The paper template is trimmed down to a smaller size, indicated by a second set of lines. This new template is traced onto parchment paper and cut out. The layers of fabric are aligned and assembled to sandwich the parchment paper. 
step_8_01.png All layers are welded together with an iron to melt the coated edge of the fabric together. Special attention must be paid to ensure that the hole for the inflation tube is not sealed shut. The parchment paper ensures that the fabric only bonds on the bladder's perimeter, allowing air to fill the brace's body. 
step_12_01.png Tubing is glued with flexible adhesive into the valve opening. The tubing is then secured with a zip-tie.
step_17_01.png A hole puncher is used along the brace's sealed seams. The elastic cord is then laced through the holes, bending the brace into shape. 
step_21.png Lastly, a hand pump is attached to the tubing, completing  the pneumatic system. Students can put the brace on and can inflate their completed device can be inflated on the wrist to test the pressure, fit and comfort.

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