Electroadhesive Clutches for Programmable Shape Morphing of Soft Actuators

by   Gregory M. Campbell, et al.

Soft robotic actuators are safe and adaptable devices with inherent compliance, which makes them attractive for manipulating delicate and complex objects. Researchers have integrated stiff materials into soft actuators to increase their force capacity and direct their deformation. However, these embedded materials have largely been pre-prescribed and static, which constrains the actuators to a predetermined range of motion. In this work, electroadhesive (EA) clutches integrated on a single-chamber soft pneumatic actuator (SPA) provide local programmable stiffness modulation to control the actuator deformation. We show that activating different clutch patterns inflates a silicone membrane into pyramidal, round, and plateau shapes. Curvatures from these shapes are combined during actuation to apply forces on both a 3.7 g and 820 g object along five different degrees of freedom (DoF). The actuator workspace is up to 12 mm for light objects. Clutch deactivation, which results in local elastomeric expansion, rapidly applies forces up to 3.2 N to an object resting on the surface and launches a 3.7 g object in controlled directions. The actuator also rotates a heavier, 820 g, object by 5 degrees and rapidly restores it to horizontal alignment after clutch deactivation. This actuator is fully powered by a 5 V battery, AA battery, DC-DC transformer, and 4.5 V (63 g) DC air pump. These results demonstrate a first step towards realizing a soft actuator with high DoF shape change that preserves the inherent benefits of pneumatic actuation while gaining the electrical controllability and strength of EA clutches. We envision such a system supplying human contact forces in the form of a low-profile sit-to-stand assistance device, bed-ridden patient manipulator, or other ergonomic mechanism. This technology was also demonstrated at ICRA 2022: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Y6-iHWNi6s


page 1

page 2

page 3

page 4

page 5


Safe Grasping with a Force Controlled Soft Robotic Hand

Safe yet stable grasping requires a robotic hand to apply sufficient for...

The Jamming Donut: A Free-Space Gripper based on Granular Jamming

Fruit harvesting has recently experienced a shift towards soft grippers ...

Toward Zero-Shot Sim-to-Real Transfer Learning for Pneumatic Soft Robot 3D Proprioceptive Sensing

Pneumatic soft robots present many advantages in manipulation tasks. Not...

A Novel Variable Stiffness Soft Robotic Gripper

We propose a novel tri-fingered soft robotic gripper with decoupled stif...

Fluidic Fabric Muscle Sheets for Wearable and Soft Robotics

Conformable robotic systems are attractive for applications in which the...

Soft Robotic Mannequin: Design and Algorithm for Deformation Control

This paper presents a novel soft robotic system for a deformable mannequ...

Autonomous Material Composite Morphing Wing

Aeronautics research has continually sought to achieve the adaptability ...

Please sign up or login with your details

Forgot password? Click here to reset