Abstract

This paper reports on design, fabrication, and kinematics modeling of a 3D printed soft parallel robot equipped with soft pneumatic actuators. Soft robotics is an emerging field of research which facilitates safe human machine interface. Soft elastomeric actuators made through molding process are one of the key elements of soft robotic systems. However, molding process is tedious and time consuming making the fabrication process undesirable. Recently reported 3D printed soft pneumatic actuators pave the way for manufacturing of novel soft actuators and robots with complex geometries. The current work can be considered as a proof of concept for 3D printing of a soft parallel robot. The robot consists of two soft pneumatic actuators that are connected to two passive links by mean of flexible hinges. The robot has two degrees of freedom and can be used in planar manipulation tasks. Moreover, a number of robots can be configured to operate in a cooperative manner to increase the manipulation dexterity. A kinematic model is developed to simulate the motion of robot end-effector. Through application of the kinematic model it has been shown that the robot is capable of following any planar trajectories within its workspace. Also, pseudo-rigid-body model (PRBM) is used to develop a dynamic model of the soft robot to more accurately predict the robot interaction with its environment and also develop advanced control system for robust position control of the robot.

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