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Flexible and slim device switching air blowing and suction by a single airflow control

by   Seita Nojiri, et al.

This study proposes a soft robotic device with a slim and flexible body that switches between air blowing and suction with a single airflow control. Suction is achieved by jet flow entraining surrounding air, and blowing is achieved by blocking and reversing jet flow. The thin and flexible flap gate enables the switching. Air flow is blocked while the gate is closed and passes through while the gate is open. The opening and closing of the flap gate are controlled by the expansion of the inflatable chambers installed near the gate. The extent of expansion is determined by the upstream static pressure. Therefore, the gate can be controlled by the input airflow rate. The dimensions of the flap gate are introduced as a design parameter, and we show that the parameter contributes to the blowing and suction capacities. We also experimentally demonstrate that the proposed device is available for a variable friction system and an end effector for picking up a thin object covered with dust.


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