ICRA 2023 Workshop | May, 2023 | London, UK
Breaking the Mold:
Empowering Soft Robots with Reconfigurable Nonlinearity
In this workshop, we seek to invite researchers from the soft robotic community to share their inputs under the umbrella of several interrelated topics:
Model order reduction & simplification of soft dynamic systems
Applying the theory of mechanisms to soft things and curved structures
Engineering, modeling, and utilizing anisotropy for solving problems in locomotion and manipulation.
Simplifying control of soft systems through “Mechanical Intelligence”
Propagation and transmission of curvature through continuum materials
Actuation, sensing, and control of soft, curved, systems
Planar fabrication methods that complement or replace 3D printing and casting
Manufacturing innovations and materials solutions that address the above
Soft robots are able to adapt to their local environment through active and passive shape change and can take on numerous configurations with large degrees of freedom. Traditional instantiations of soft robots are cast silicone structures with pneumatic chambers to enable actuation and sensing. However, new visions of soft robots, formed from planar materials and planar fabrication methods have emerged that exploit changes in curvature. Sheets of flexible material can be structurally augmented through laser cutting, sewing, and through shallow-layer 3D printing. These planar layers can be bent and curved to achieve new neutral configurations, and local actuators and sensors can be used to tune surface curvature to reconfigure and actuate along a continuum. We seek to discuss the modeling, control, and fabrication challenges required to be overcome to develop multi-functional soft robots composed of these Soft, Curved, Reconfigurable, Anisotropic Mechanisms (SCRAMs). Through planar fabrication methods (sewing, lamination, and 3D printing) SCRAMs that exhibit anisotropic stiffness, hysteresis, and local reconfigurability can be fabricated quickly and easily. We believe this concept could leverage the mechanics of materials to generate highly reconfigurable nonlinear stiffness and buckling behavior within the soft structure so that the control and actuation difficulties in current soft robot systems can be ameliorated.