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      Fast-Response, Stiffness-Tunable Soft Actuator by Hybrid Multimaterial 3D Printing

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          Design, fabrication and control of soft robots.

          Conventionally, engineers have employed rigid materials to fabricate precise, predictable robotic systems, which are easily modelled as rigid members connected at discrete joints. Natural systems, however, often match or exceed the performance of robotic systems with deformable bodies. Cephalopods, for example, achieve amazing feats of manipulation and locomotion without a skeleton; even vertebrates such as humans achieve dynamic gaits by storing elastic energy in their compliant bones and soft tissues. Inspired by nature, engineers have begun to explore the design and control of soft-bodied robots composed of compliant materials. This Review discusses recent developments in the emerging field of soft robotics.
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            An integrated design and fabrication strategy for entirely soft, autonomous robots.

            Soft robots possess many attributes that are difficult, if not impossible, to achieve with conventional robots composed of rigid materials. Yet, despite recent advances, soft robots must still be tethered to hard robotic control systems and power sources. New strategies for creating completely soft robots, including soft analogues of these crucial components, are needed to realize their full potential. Here we report the untethered operation of a robot composed solely of soft materials. The robot is controlled with microfluidic logic that autonomously regulates fluid flow and, hence, catalytic decomposition of an on-board monopropellant fuel supply. Gas generated from the fuel decomposition inflates fluidic networks downstream of the reaction sites, resulting in actuation. The body and microfluidic logic of the robot are fabricated using moulding and soft lithography, respectively, and the pneumatic actuator networks, on-board fuel reservoirs and catalytic reaction chambers needed for movement are patterned within the body via a multi-material, embedded 3D printing technique. The fluidic and elastomeric architectures required for function span several orders of magnitude from the microscale to the macroscale. Our integrated design and rapid fabrication approach enables the programmable assembly of multiple materials within this architecture, laying the foundation for completely soft, autonomous robots.
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              Multigait soft robot.

              This manuscript describes a unique class of locomotive robot: A soft robot, composed exclusively of soft materials (elastomeric polymers), which is inspired by animals (e.g., squid, starfish, worms) that do not have hard internal skeletons. Soft lithography was used to fabricate a pneumatically actuated robot capable of sophisticated locomotion (e.g., fluid movement of limbs and multiple gaits). This robot is quadrupedal; it uses no sensors, only five actuators, and a simple pneumatic valving system that operates at low pressures (< 10 psi). A combination of crawling and undulation gaits allowed this robot to navigate a difficult obstacle. This demonstration illustrates an advantage of soft robotics: They are systems in which simple types of actuation produce complex motion.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Advanced Functional Materials
                Adv. Funct. Mater.
                Wiley
                1616301X
                January 08 2019
                : 1806698
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Digital Manufacturing and Design Centre; Singapore University of Technology and Design; Singapore 487372 Singapore
                [2 ]Soft Robotics and Biodesign Lab; Robotics Institute; School of Mechanical Engineering; Shanghai Jiao Tong University; Shanghai 200240 China
                [3 ]State Key Laboratory of Mechanical System and Vibration; Shanghai Jiao Tong University; Shanghai 200240 China
                [4 ]Science and Math Cluster; Singapore University of Technology and Design; Singapore 487372 Singapore
                Article
                10.1002/adfm.201806698
                951d3b9c-188f-412e-8252-a7bdc4935475
                © 2019

                http://doi.wiley.com/10.1002/tdm_license_1.1

                http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/termsAndConditions#vor

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