Researchers describe pneumatic actuator that generates cyclical motion

July 18, 2017
Credit: Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers

A new study demonstrated the design, potential applications, and advantages of an innovative multi-chambered soft pneumatic actuator. Researchers described how the actuator generates cyclical motion and characterized its trajectory and the force it exerts in an article published in Soft Robotics.

Coauthors Alar Ainla, Mohit Verma, Dian Yang, and George Whitesides, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA presented two sample applications of the actuator in the article entitled "Soft, Rotating Pneumatic Actuator": delivering fluid through a needle while stirring; and mimicking the gait of a reptile to achieve locomotion. They identified several advantages of this novel method for achieving revolution of a central rod-like unit within a soft pneumatic including no need for lubrication, no risk of bursting at actuation pressures above the operating specifications because it functions under negative pressure, and its ability to be used in operations that are sensitive to electromagnetic fields or use flammable liquids where an unshielded electric motor could cause interference or explosion.

"Working with soft machines presents enormous challenges in design and then in the technical aspects needed to build a working . This report is an ingenious example of a device that leverages soft materials to operate in environments that would not be suitable for more traditional robots," says Editor-in-Chief Barry A. Trimmer, PhD, who directs the Neuromechanics and Biomimetic Devices Laboratory at Tufts University (Medford, MA).

Explore further: New study from Harvard compares design of fuel systems for soft robots

More information: Alar Ainla et al, Soft, Rotating Pneumatic Actuator, Soft Robotics (2017). DOI: 10.1089/soro.2017.0017

Related Stories

Using simulation tools to optimize soft robotic systems

January 23, 2017

Simulation is a valuable tool to improve the energy efficiency of machines and it is now being used to analyze and optimize soft robotic systems to increase their utility, as described in an article published in Soft Robotics, ...

EPFL team has big appetite for progress in edible robotics

March 14, 2017

(Tech Xplore)—Swiss engineers have been working on an edible robot. Their work has served up a number of tech watchers commenting on the wonders of it all: The next robot, suggested writers, could be an edible item crawling ...

Mimicking biological movements with soft robots

December 19, 2016

Designing a soft robot to move organically—to bend like a finger or twist like a wrist—has always been a process of trial and error. Now, researchers from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied ...

Recommended for you

US faces moment of truth on 'net neutrality'

December 14, 2017

The acrimonious battle over "net neutrality" in America comes to a head Thursday with a US agency set to vote to roll back rules enacted two years earlier aimed at preventing a "two-speed" internet.

FCC votes along party lines to end 'net neutrality' (Update)

December 14, 2017

The Federal Communications Commission repealed the Obama-era "net neutrality" rules Thursday, giving internet service providers like Verizon, Comcast and AT&T a free hand to slow or block websites and apps as they see fit ...

The wet road to fast and stable batteries

December 14, 2017

An international team of scientists—including several researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory—has discovered an anode battery material with superfast charging and stable operation ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.