168. 3d printed soft actuators for a legged robot capable of navigating unstructured terrain

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

Primary Student
Name: Dylan T Drotman
Email: ddrotman@ucsd.edu
Phone: 951-719-6667
Grad Year: 2019

Soft robots have recently demonstrated impressive abilities to adapt to objects and their environment with limited sensing and actuation. However, mobile soft robots are typically fabricated using laborious molding processes that result in limited actuated degrees of freedom and hence limited locomotion capabilities. In this paper, we present a 3D printed robot with bellowed soft legs capable of rotation about two axes. This allows our robot to navigate rough terrain that previously posed a significant challenge to soft robots. We present models and FEM simulations for the soft leg modules and predict the robot locomotion capabilities. Finite element software package ANSYS Mechanical is used to simulate the actuation characteristics. We then compared the analytical and computational results to experimental results with a tethered prototype. The resulting soft robot is capable of lifting its legs 5.3 cm off the ground and is able to walk at speeds up to 19 mm/s. This work represents a practical approach to the design and fabrication of functional mobile soft robots

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

Related Links:

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

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