skip to main content

Title: Controllable Preparation of Ordered and Hierarchically Buckled Structures for Inflatable Tumor Ablation, Volumetric Strain Sensor, and Communication via Inflatable Antenna
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; more » ; ; ; « less
Award ID(s):
1661246 1726435 1636306
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
10862 to 10873
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Modular soft robots combine the strengths of two traditionally separate areas of robotics. As modular robots, they can show robustness to individual failure and reconfigurability; as soft robots, they can deform and undergo large shape changes in order to adapt to their environment, and have inherent human safety. However, for sensing and communication these robots also combine the challenges of both: they require solutions that are scalable (low cost and complexity) and efficient (low power) to enable collectives of large numbers of robots, and these solutions must also be able to interface with the high extension ratio elastic bodies of soft robots. In this work, we seek to address these challenges using acoustic signals produced by piezoelectric surface transducers that are cheap, simple, and low power, and that not only integrate with but also leverage the elastic robot skins for signal transmission. Importantly, to further increase scalability, the transducers exhibit multi-functionality made possible by a relatively flat frequency response across the audible and ultrasonic ranges. With minimal hardware, they enable directional contact-based communication, audible-range communication at a distance, and exteroceptive sensing. We demonstrate a subset of the decentralized collective behaviors that these functions make possible with multi-robot hardware implementations. Themore »use of acoustic waves in this domain is shown to provide distinct advantages over existing solutions.« less
  2. Fluidic soft actuators are enlarging the robotics toolbox by providing flexible elements that can display highly complex deformations. Although these actuators are adaptable and inherently safe, their actuation speed is typically slow because the influx of fluid is limited by viscous forces. To overcome this limitation and realize soft actuators capable of rapid movements, we focused on spherical caps that exhibit isochoric snapping when pressurized under volume-controlled conditions. First, we noted that this snap-through instability leads to both a sudden release of energy and a fast cap displacement. Inspired by these findings, we investigated the response of actuators that comprise such spherical caps as building blocks and observed the same isochoric snapping mechanism upon inflation. Last, we demonstrated that this instability can be exploited to make these actuators jump even when inflated at a slow rate. Our study provides the foundation for the design of an emerging class of fluidic soft devices that can convert a slow input signal into a fast output deformation.