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Pellicular Morphing Surfaces for Soft Robots

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Article number8653848
Pages (from-to)2304-2309
Number of pages6
JournalIEEE Robotics and Automation Letters
Volume4
Issue number3
Early online date27 Feb 2019
DOIs
DateAccepted/In press - 5 Feb 2019
DateE-pub ahead of print - 27 Feb 2019
DatePublished (current) - 1 Jul 2019

Abstract

Soft structures in nature endow organisms across scales with the ability to drastically deform their bodies and exhibit complex behaviours while overcoming challenges in their environments. Inspired by microstructures found in the cell membranes of the Euglena family of microorganisms, which exhibit giant changes in shape during their characteristic euglenoid movement, this paper presents the design, fabrication and characterisation of bio-inspired deforming surfaces. The result is a surface of interconnected strips, that deforms in 2D and 3D due to simple shear between adjacent members. We fabricate flexible polymeric strips and demonstrate three different shapes arising out of the same actuation by imposing various constraints. We characterise the strips in terms of the force required to separate them and show that the bio-inspired cross section of these strips enables them to hold up to 8N of force with a meagre 0.5mm of material thickness, while still being flexible to deform. Further, the design of a soft robot module, with an actively deformable surface has been presented which replicates the mechanism of shape change seen in the Euglena. This work shows the potential for this new form of shape morphing surface in realising bio-mimetic soft robots exhibiting large changes in shape.

    Research areas

  • biologically-inspired robots, flexible robots, mechanism design, Soft robot materials and design

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  • Full-text PDF (accepted author manuscript)

    Rights statement: This is the accepted author manuscript (AAM). The final published version (version of record) is available online via IEEE at https://doi.org/10.1109/LRA.2019.2901981 Please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.

    Accepted author manuscript, 2 MB, PDF document

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