Fully soft bistable mechanisms have shown extensive applications ranging from soft robotics, wearable devices, and medical tools, to energy harvesting. However, the lack of design and fabrication methods that are easy and potentially scalable limits their further adoption into mainstream applications. Herein, a top–down planar approach is presented by introducing Kirigami‐inspired engineering combined with a pre‐stretching process. Using this method, Kirigami‐Pre‐stretched Substrate‐Kirigami trilayered precursors are created in a planar manner; upon release, the strain mismatch—due to the pre‐stretching of substrate—between layers will induce an out‐of‐plane buckling to achieve targeted 3D bistable structures. By combining experimental characterization, analytical modeling, and finite element simulation, the effect of the pattern size of Kirigami layers and pre‐stretching on the geometry and stability of resulting 3D composites is explored. In addition, methods to realize soft bistable structures with arbitrary shapes and soft composites with multistable configurations are investigated, which may encourage further applications. This method is demonstrated by using bistable soft Kirigami composites to construct two soft machines: (i) a bistable soft gripper that can gently grasp delicate objects with different shapes and sizes and (ii) a flytrap‐inspired robot that can autonomously detect and capture objects.
The ability to grab, hold, and manipulate objects is a vital and fundamental operation in biological and engineering systems. Here, we present a soft gripper using a simple material system that enables precise and rapid grasping, and can be miniaturized, modularized, and remotely actuated. This soft gripper is based on kirigami shells—thin, elastic shells patterned with an array of cuts. The kirigami cut pattern is determined by evaluating the shell’s mechanics and geometry, using a combination of experiments, finite element simulations, and theoretical modeling, which enables the gripper design to be both scalable and material independent. We demonstrate that the kirigami shell gripper can be readily integrated with an existing robotic platform or remotely actuated using a magnetic field. The kirigami cut pattern results in a simple unit cell that can be connected together in series, and again in parallel, to create kirigami gripper arrays capable of simultaneously grasping multiple delicate and slippery objects. These soft and lightweight grippers will have applications in robotics, haptics, and biomedical device design.more » « less
- Award ID(s):
- NSF-PAR ID:
- Publisher / Repository:
- American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
- Date Published:
- Journal Name:
- Science Robotics
- Page Range / eLocation ID:
- Article No. eabd6426
- Medium: X
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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