Mechanical programming of soft actuators by varying fiber angle

Fionnuala Connolly, Panagiotis Polygerinos, Conor J. Walsh, Katia Bertoldi

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    318 Scopus citations


    In this work we investigate the influence of fiber angle on the deformation of fiber-reinforced soft fluidic actuators and examine the manner in which these actuators extend axially, expand radially and twist about their axis as a function of input pressure. We study the quantitative relationship between fiber angle and actuator deformation by performing finite element simulations for actuators with a range of different fiber angles, and we verify the simulation results by experimentally characterizing the actuators. By combining actuator segments in series, we can achieve combinations of motions tailored to specific tasks. We demonstrate this by using the results of simulations of separate actuators to design a segmented wormlike soft robot capable of propelling itself through a tube and performing an orientation-specific peg insertion task at the end of the tube. Understanding the relationship between fiber angle and pressurization response of these soft fluidic actuators enables rapid exploration of the design space, opening the door to the iteration of exciting soft robot concepts such as flexible and compliant endoscopes, pipe inspection devices, and assembly line robots.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)26-32
    Number of pages7
    JournalSoft Robotics
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - Mar 1 2015

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Control and Systems Engineering
    • Biophysics
    • Artificial Intelligence


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