Mechanical programming of soft actuators by varying fiber angle

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

160 Scopus citations

Abstract

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
Volume2
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Biophysics
  • Control and Systems Engineering

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    Connolly, F., Polygerinos, P., Walsh, C. J., & Bertoldi, K. (2015). Mechanical programming of soft actuators by varying fiber angle. Soft Robotics, 2(1), 26-32. https://doi.org/10.1089/soro.2015.0001