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Polymers 2018, 10(8), 846; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym10080846

Strategies to Control Performance of 3D-Printed, Cable-Driven Soft Polymer Actuators: From Simple Architectures to Gripper Prototype

1
Faculty of Aerospace Engineering, Technion—Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa 32003, Israel
2
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA
3
Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI 53706, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 2 July 2018 / Revised: 22 July 2018 / Accepted: 26 July 2018 / Published: 1 August 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer Actuator)
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Abstract

The following is a study of the performance of soft cable-driven polymer actuators produced by multimaterial 3D printing. We demonstrate that the mechanical response of the polymer actuator with an embedded cable can be flexibly tuned through the targeted selection of actuator architecture. Various strategies, such as the addition of discrete or periodic stiff inserts, the sectioning of the actuator, or the shifting of the cable channel are employed to demonstrate ways to achieve more controllable deformed shape during weight lifting or reduce the required actuation force. To illustrate these concepts, we design and manufacture a prototype of the soft polymer gripper, which is capable of manipulating small, delicate objects. The explored strategies can be utilized in other types of soft actuators, employing, for instance, actuation by means of electroactive polymers. View Full-Text
Keywords: polymer actuator; soft robotics; soft machines; 3D printing; cable-driven actuation; gripper; soft composites; digital materials polymer actuator; soft robotics; soft machines; 3D printing; cable-driven actuation; gripper; soft composites; digital materials
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Slesarenko, V.; Engelkemier, S.; Galich, P.I.; Vladimirsky, D.; Klein, G.; Rudykh, S. Strategies to Control Performance of 3D-Printed, Cable-Driven Soft Polymer Actuators: From Simple Architectures to Gripper Prototype. Polymers 2018, 10, 846.

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