Soft Robotics: Fusing Function with Structure

A special issue of Robotics (ISSN 2218-6581). This special issue belongs to the section "Soft Robotics".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (29 February 2024) | Viewed by 6299

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
School of Engineering and Materials Science, Queen Mary University of London, London E1 4NS, UK
Interests: soft robotics; medical robotics; tactile sensing

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Guest Editor
School of Engineering and Informatics, University of Sussex, Falmer, Brighton BN1 9RH, UK
Interests: soft robotics; soft proprioception; electroactive technologies
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Guest Editor
Continental-NTU Corporate Lab: Future-Oriented Continental's Urban Society (FOCUS) Lab, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore 637460, Singapore
Interests: continuum manipulators; soft robotics; robot navigation

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This is an invitation to submit your work to this journal Special Issue dedicated to soft robotics.

The advent of soft material technologies in robotics has brought many distinct advantages, such as inherent compliance, safety, high manoeuvrability, and reconfigurability. Along with these advantages, the past years have seen many interesting applications for soft robots in areas such as surgical robotics, extreme environments, and logistics and material handling. Despite these rapid developments, many challenges that are key to the widespread adoption and efficient utilization of novel soft material technologies are still outstanding.

A major challenge that lies at the core of the field of soft robots is the fusion and integration of different functions with the soft robot body. The ability of different structures in a soft robot to seamlessly carry out different functions, for example, an actuator that is also a self-sensing element or the backbone of a robot body, will produce numerous advantages. Such a fusion is underpinned by many aspects, such as design methodologies, the development of multifunctional components, manufacturing techniques to cofabricate functional structures, sensing and perception of data, and morphological computation.

To serve as a focal point for discussing this grand challenge of “Fusing Function with Structure in Soft Robotics’’, we welcome original research articles and topical reviews related to but not limited to the following topics of interest.

Topics of Interest

  • Embedded actuation of soft robots;
  • Growing robots;
  • Variable and controllable stiffness mechanisms;
  • Mechanically programmable soft robots;
  • 3d printing of soft functional devices;
  • Reconfigurable robots;
  • Design optimization of soft robots;
  • Soft sensing and sensorization for soft robots;
  • Self-sensing actuators;
  • Morphological computation;
  • Multimodal sensing and perception;
  • Soft logic and mechanical intelligence;
  • Soft robot navigation.

Best regards,

Prof. Dr. Kaspar Althoefer
Dr. Hareesh Godaba
Dr. Ahmad Ataka
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Robotics is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Soft robotics
  • Soft sensors
  • Soft materials
  • Robot design
  • Smart actuators
  • Additive manufacturing
  • 3d printing
  • Morphological computation.

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

10 pages, 10751 KiB  
Article
Fabrication of Origami Soft Gripper Using On-Fabric 3D Printing
by Hana Choi, Tongil Park, Gyomin Hwang, Youngji Ko, Dohun Lee, Taeksu Lee, Jong-Oh Park and Doyeon Bang
Robotics 2023, 12(6), 150; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics12060150 - 08 Nov 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2257
Abstract
In this work, we have presented a soft encapsulating gripper for gentle grasps. This was enabled by a series of soft origami patterns, such as the Yoshimura pattern, which was directly printed on fabric. The proposed gripper features a deformable body that enables [...] Read more.
In this work, we have presented a soft encapsulating gripper for gentle grasps. This was enabled by a series of soft origami patterns, such as the Yoshimura pattern, which was directly printed on fabric. The proposed gripper features a deformable body that enables safe interaction with its surroundings, gentle grasps of delicate and fragile objects, and encapsulated structures allowing for noninvasive enclosing. The gripper was fabricated by a direct 3D printing of soft materials on fabric. This allowed for the stiffness adjustment of gripper components and a simple fabrication process. We evaluated the grasping performance of the proposed gripper with several delicate and ultra-gentle objects. It was concluded that the proposed gripper could manipulate delicate objects from fruits to silicone jellyfishes and, therefore, have considerable potential for use as improved soft encapsulating grippers in agriculture and engineering fields. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soft Robotics: Fusing Function with Structure)
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17 pages, 5586 KiB  
Article
Tendon-Driven Variable-Stiffness Pneumatic Soft Gripper Robot
by Safeh Clinton Mawah and Yong-Jai Park
Robotics 2023, 12(5), 128; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics12050128 - 11 Sep 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2171
Abstract
In recent times, the soft robotics field has been attracting significant research focus owing to its high level of manipulation capabilities unlike traditional rigid robots, which gives room for increasing use in other areas. However, compared to traditional rigid gripper robots, being capable [...] Read more.
In recent times, the soft robotics field has been attracting significant research focus owing to its high level of manipulation capabilities unlike traditional rigid robots, which gives room for increasing use in other areas. However, compared to traditional rigid gripper robots, being capable of controlling/obtaining overall body stiffness when required is yet to be further explored since soft gripper robots have inherently less-rigid properties. Unlike previous designs with very complex variable-stiffness systems, this paper demonstrates a soft gripper design with minimum system complexity while being capable of varying the stiffness of a continuum soft robotic actuator and proves to have potential applications in gripping objects of various shapes, weights, and sizes. The soft gripper actuator comprises two separate mechanisms: the pneumatic mechanism for bending control and the mechanical structure for stiffness variation by pulling tendons using stepper motors which compresses the actuator, thereby changing the overall stiffness. The pneumatic mechanism was first fabricated and then embedded into another silicon layer during which it was also merged with the mechanical structure for stiffness control. By first pneumatically actuating the actuator which causes bending and then pulling the tendons, we found out that the actuator stiffness value can be increased up to 145% its initial value, and the gripper can grasp and lift a weight of up to 2.075 kg. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soft Robotics: Fusing Function with Structure)
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