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29 March 2019 Soft manipulators with programmable motion using twisted-and-coiled actuators (Conference Presentation)
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A robot capable of shape morphing, to change its configuration without modifying design, can adapt to environments better than a robot with only a fixed configuration. We propose a three-dimensional shape-morphing link that can achieve complex three-dimensional shapes by embedding a variable-stiffness element and multiple twisted-and-coiled actuators (TCA) into a soft elastomer. The TCA, with intrinsic softness, can be driven by electricity and generate forces 100 times larger than a human muscle of the same weight and length. In order to achieve a decoupled actuation of each TCA, the structure of the soft elastomer body is designed to isolate heat from other TCAs in the same body. By feeding back the position of markers on the shape-morphing link, we can precisely control the shape of the link. We demonstrate that a spatial mechanism consists of one or more these links can morph to a variety of configurations thus allowing for different functions. We envision that the proposed morphing link will have a wide range of applications in robotics locomotion mechanisms such as flying wings, walking legs, and swimming fins.
Conference Presentation
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Jiefeng Sun, Ben Pawlowski, and Jianguo Zhao "Soft manipulators with programmable motion using twisted-and-coiled actuators (Conference Presentation)", Proc. SPIE 10966, Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) XXI, 109660Q (29 March 2019);

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