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      Enacting the Soft Automaton: Empirical Ontologies of Two Soft Robots from Technical Research and Media Art

        1

      Politics of the Machines - Art and After (EVA Copenhagen)

      Digital arts and culture

      15 - 17 May 2018

      Soft robotics, Soft material robots, Media art, Robotic art, Empirical ontology

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          Abstract

          This paper examines two soft robots from technical research and media art respectively and the practices through which they come into being. Departing from a juxtaposition of video presentations of the two robots, the empirical ontologies of a soft robot enacted in practice are analysed. The paper argues that two different versions of softness are being done and that the two sets of practices concomitantly respecify “knowledge” and “autonomy” as concepts, with different ethical and political implications.

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          Most cited references 17

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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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              Slippery: Field notes in empirical ontology

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Conference
                May 2018
                May 2018
                : 1-9
                Affiliations
                [1 ] Digital Design Department

                IT University of Copenhagen

                Rued Langgaards Vej 7, DK-2300

                Copenhagen S, Denmark
                Article
                10.14236/ewic/EVAC18.23
                © Jørgensen. Published by BCS Learning and Development Ltd. Proceedings of EVA Copenhagen 2018, Denmark

                This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

                Politics of the Machines - Art and After
                EVA Copenhagen
                7
                Aalborg University, Copenhagen, Denmark
                15 - 17 May 2018
                Electronic Workshops in Computing (eWiC)
                Digital arts and culture
                Product
                Product Information: 1477-9358BCS Learning & Development
                Self URI (journal page): https://ewic.bcs.org/
                Categories
                Electronic Workshops in Computing

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