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Kinematic Synthesis of Fiber Reinforced Soft Actuators in Parallel Combinations

[+] Author Affiliations
Joshua Bishop-Moser, Girish Krishnan, Sridhar Kota

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

Charles Kim

Bucknell University, Lewisburg, PA

Paper No. DETC2012-71261, pp. 1079-1087; 9 pages
  • ASME 2012 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 4: 36th Mechanisms and Robotics Conference, Parts A and B
  • Chicago, Illinois, USA, August 12–15, 2012
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division, Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4503-5
  • Copyright © 2012 by ASME


Complex controlled motions, flexible surfaces, and minimal moving mass all drive the need for soft robots using fiber reinforced elastomer enclosures (FREEs) in a parallel configuration. This paper addresses the challenge of synthesizing a design with desired kinematics, as only small portions of the entire design space have been previously investigated. A systematic characterization of the kinematic freedom, constraint, and actuation directions of all circumferentially and longitudinally repeating fiber topologies is determined. The parallel kinematics is mapped for the combinations of actuators by determining the sets of mobilities necessary in the constituent members for all possible output motions. The kinematics of all possible parallel combinations for pairs and triangular triplets of FREEs are mapped. A graphical user interface (GUI) is presented, which allows a user to input a kinematic specification and generate all feasible FREE sets and their respective kinematics. With the entire design space mapped and easily accessible, a range of possible applications across a span of kinematic requirements becomes readily attainable. A case study is performed to verify the ability of the GUI to determine feasible FREE sets for a pick-and-place manipulator task.

Copyright © 2012 by ASME



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