Have you ever dreamed of flying? The Symbiotic Drone Activity is a project that aims to give you the sensation of flying while controlling a real drone. The goal of… Read more
Our partner institutions currently offer two courses that have a strong focus on robotics at the master level, although it is worth noting that students with a wide variety of… Read more
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The consortium is keen on supporting entrepreneurship. The below spin-offs were granted the NCCR Robotics spin fund. For a comprehensive list of spin fund holders please see our spin-off page.… Read more
Looking for publications? You might want to consider searching on the EPFL Infoscience site which provides advanced publication search capabilities.
Soft actuators made from elastomeric active materials can find widespread potential implementation in a variety of applications ranging from assistive wearable technologies targeted at biomedical rehabilitation or assistance with activities of daily living, bioinspired and biomimetic systems, to gripping and manipulating fragile objects, and adaptable locomotion. In this manuscript, we propose a novel two-component soft actuator design and design tool that produces actuators targeted towards these applications with enhanced mechanical performance and manufacturability. Our numerical models developed using the finite element method can predict the actuator behavior at large mechanical strains to allow efficient design iterations for system optimization. Based on two distinctive actuator prototypes’ (linear and bending actuators) experimental results that include free displacement and blocked-forces, we have validated the efficacy of the numerical models. The presented extensive investigation of mechanical performance for soft actuators with varying geometric parameters demonstrates the practical application of the design tool, and the robustness of the actuator hardware design, towards diverse soft robotic systems for a wide set of assistive wearable technologies, including replicating the motion of several parts of the human body.