166. DESIGN AND CHARACTERIZATION OF SOFT PNEUMATIC ACTUATORS CAPABLE OF BEND AND TWIST SENSING

Department: Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering
Faculty Advisor(s): Michael T. Tolley | Miroslav Krstic

Primary Student
Name: Benjamin Shih
Email: beshih@ucsd.edu
Phone: 858-534-1355
Grad Year: 2020

Student Collaborators
Dylan Drotman, dylandrotman@gmail.com

Abstract
A robotic gripper that can safely interact with humans and fragile objects with limited computational resources is a significant design challenge. Soft robotics represent an attractive and inexpensive option. We present a soft robotic manipulator composed of three soft pneumatic actuator (SPA) modules made of silicone rubber that serve as fingers. The manipulator was designed to handle fragile objects, a task that can be difficult or impossible for rigid manipulators. First, we investigate how the design of the actuator modules impacts performance characteristics of the manipulator (blocked force and bend angle). Then, fluidic strain sensors are attached along the sides of each chamber to measure bending and twisting. The strain sensors are flexible and extensible, capable of measuring shears and twists, and output analog readings that provide an estimate of the finger's configuration. In addition, linear regressions enable identification of finger deflection distances and angled surfaces, and these sensor measurements are used to construct a two-dimensional, cross section visualization of the object. These results present a step towards soft robot fingers with a complex range of motions and tactile object modeling, and a manipulator capable of dextrous tasks such as screwing in a light bulb.

Industry Application Area(s)
Control Systems | Electronics/Photonics | Robotics

Related Links:

  1. http://bioinspired.eng.ucsd.edu/

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