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Workshop / Seminar

MME Seminar: Soft pneumatic robots: Designing for more dexterity


About the event

Presented by
Dr. Ming Luo, Assistant Professor, Washington State University School of Mechanical and Materials Science

Unlike rigid robots, soft robots can passively conform to bypass obstacles, as well as distribute forces on object surfaces with high compliance, improving the safety of human-robot interactions. In theory, soft pneumatic actuators have infinite degrees of freedom. To achieve a single desired motion (extension, shortening, bending, and twisting), constraints must be added to soft actuators to prevent undesired motions. To demonstrate the versatile controllable motions of a single soft actuator, this talk introduces two recent projects. First, “AFREEs: Active Fiber Reinforced Elastomeric Enclosures” (This paper has been nominated for the Best Paper Award by the 2020 Robosoft conference): An Active Fiber Reinforced Elastomeric Enclosure (AFREE) can twist, elongate, and contract by actively changing the two fibers’ angles prior to pressurization. Unlike other soft actuators with a single deformation output, the static experiments show that the current AFREE can achieve a twist of ±60 degrees and displacements between -2 and 4 mm at 24.1 kPa with -30 degrees to 30 degrees fiber angles. Second, “Human Interface for Teleoperated Object Manipulation with a Soft Growing Robot” (This paper has been nominated for the Best Paper Award by the 2020 ICRA conference): A soft growing manipulator can extend, retract, and steer freely in 3D space while carrying a payload. This soft growing manipulator has great potential to address the current limitations in human-robot interaction field.



Amanda Wagar