The Design and Manufacturing of Soft Robotic Pneumatic Actuators

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The Ohio State University

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As technology is advances, people are beginning to see more cybernetic enhancements to compensate for mechanical deficiencies. One area of focus is on bio medics, particularly regarding prosthesis; As the overall health status in the US decreases those needing prosthetic mechanisms increases, due to this, more effective systems should be considered. This is the basis for this research topic: to apply soft robotics pneumatic actuation to a gripper system that closely reflects the mobility and dexterity of the average human being of today. The important factors considered in the design of an efficient actuator using soft robotic actuation is the efficiency of actuation with pressure, bending angle achieved at certain pressures and optimizations considering different actuator designs and medium transitions for optimizing the finger. Current implementations of the actuator configuration have been able to reveal major design flaws and critical aspects that would affect the efficiency of the actuator. These proclivities have resulted in an actuator system incapable of producing a force generation profile significant enough to conclude the systems validity, and as such requires more testing and analysis due to issues experienced in the fabrication process. With the development of a successful actuator design in future work, this project would seek to optimize the systems actuation methods before implementation of sensory encoders or layer jamming systems.