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Soft robotics: an introductory lecture

Posted on October 20th, 2014

Soft Robotics Tech Group NYC

10/20/2014 @ Denton, 1221 Ave of the Americas, NY
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Simone Braunstein presented four studies describing recent advances in #softrobots without rigid internal structural elements.

  1. Harvard – autonomous robot using Ardiuno & air compressors which inflate a series of channels in rubber. As CO2 blows through controlled channels it inflates the robot. Solenoid valves control the airflow which determines the shape and movement of the robot.
  2. MIT – electromagnetic fish capable of agile movements and is autonomous. The robot uses compressed CO2 to power its movements. They use a wireless connection to send commands. The fish can do an “escape maneuver” in 100ms. Has a single actuator to move the tail left/right. Springy material makes the tail spring back once the chambers within the fish are depressurized. CO2 canister + Actuator + Embedded electropermanent magnet (acts as a gate).
  3. A hand with fiber reinforced fingers (video showed it picking up a ball or a cylinder). Can actuate the thumb slightly and can grab strongly later. Use pulse modulation to hold the shape of the hand. Wrap fibers around the body so the entire finger inflates at the same rate – otherwise thinner sections would overinflate. The fibers also constrain the direction that the fingers can move.
  4. Hybrid combining hard and soft robots – hard robot drives up to the object. The soft robot walks off the robot then finders grab the object.

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