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Actuation and stiffening in fluid-driven soft robots using low-melting-point material

Peters, J; Nolan, E; Wiese, M; Miodownik, M; Spurgeon, M; Arezzo, A; Raatz, A; (2020) Actuation and stiffening in fluid-driven soft robots using low-melting-point material. In: Proceedings of the 2019 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS 2019). (pp. pp. 4692-4698). IEEE: Macau, China. Green open access

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Abstract

Soft material robots offer a number of advantages over traditional rigid robots in applications including humanrobot interaction, rehabilitation and surgery. These robots can navigate around obstacles, elongate, squeeze through narrow openings or be squeezed - and they are considered to be inherently safe. The ability to stiffen compliant soft actuators has been achieved by embedding various mechanisms that are generally decoupled from the actuation principle. Miniaturisation becomes challenging due to space limitations which can in turn result in diminution of stiffening effects. Here, we propose to hydraulically actuate soft manipulators with lowmelting- point material and, at the same time, be able to switch between a soft and stiff state. Instead of allocating an additional stiffening chamber within the soft robot, one chamber only is used for actuation and stiffening. Low Melting Point Alloy is integrated into the actuation chamber of a single-compartment soft robotic manipulator and the interfaced robotic syringe pump. Temperature change is enabled through embedded nichrome wires. Our experimental results show higher stiffness factors, from 9-12 opposing the motion of curvature, than those previously found for jamming mechanisms incorporated in separate additional chambers, in the range of 2-8 for the same motion.

Type: Proceedings paper
Title: Actuation and stiffening in fluid-driven soft robots using low-melting-point material
Event: 2019 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS 2019)
Location: Macau, China
Dates: 04 November 2019 - 08 November 2019
ISBN-13: 978-1-7281-4004-9
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1109/IROS40897.2019.8967764
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1109/IROS40897.2019.8967764
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Civil, Environ and Geomatic Eng
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Electronic and Electrical Eng
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Mechanical Engineering
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10083461
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