Fiber-reinforced elastomeric enclosures (FREEs) generate sophisticated motions, when pressurized, including axial rotation, extension, and compression, and serve as fundamental building blocks for soft robots in a variety of applications. However, most modeling techniques employed by researchers do not capture the key characteristics of FREEs to enable development of robust design and control schemes. Accurate and computationally efficient models that capture the nonlinearity of fibers and elastomeric components are needed. This paper presents a continuum model that captures the nonlinearities of the fiber and elastomer components as well as nonlinear relationship between applied pressure, deformation, and output forces and torque. One of the key attributes of this model is that it captures the behavior of FREEs in a computationally tractable manner with a minimum burden on experimental parameter determination. Without losing generality of the model, we validate it for a FREE with one fiber family, which is the simplest system exhibiting a combination of elongation and twist when pressurized. Experimental data in multiple kinematic configurations show agreement between our model prediction and the moments that the actuators generate. The model can be used to not only determine operational parameters but also to solve inverse problems, i.e., in design synthesis.
A Continuum Model for Fiber-Reinforced Soft Robot Actuators
Contributed by the Mechanisms and Robotics Committee of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF MECHANISMS AND ROBOTICS. Manuscript received September 22, 2017; final manuscript received January 18, 2018; published online February 12, 2018. Assoc. Editor: Andreas Mueller.
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Sedal, A., Bruder, D., Bishop-Moser, J., Vasudevan, R., and Kota, S. (February 12, 2018). "A Continuum Model for Fiber-Reinforced Soft Robot Actuators." ASME. J. Mechanisms Robotics. April 2018; 10(2): 024501. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.4039101
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