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  1. Abstract Soft robots can undergo large elastic deformations and adapt to complex shapes. However, they lack the structural strength to withstand external loads due to the intrinsic compliance of fabrication materials (silicone or rubber). In this paper, we present a novel stiffness modulation approach that controls the robot’s stiffness on-demand without permanently affecting the intrinsic compliance of the elastomeric body. Inspired by concentric tube robots, this approach uses a Nitinol tube as the backbone, which can be slid in and out of the soft robot body to achieve robot pose or stiffness modulation. To validate the proposed idea, we fabricated a tendon-driven concentric tube (TDCT) soft robot and developed the model based on Cosserat rod theory. The model is validated in different scenarios by varying the joint-space tendon input and task-space external contact force. Experimental results indicate that the model is capable of estimating the shape of the TDCT soft robot with an average root-mean-square error (RMSE) of 0.90 (0.56% of total length) mm and average tip error of 1.49 (0.93% of total length) mm. Simulation studies demonstrate that the Nitinol backbone insertion can enhance the kinematic workspace and reduce the compliance of the TDCT soft robot by 57.7%. Twomore »case studies (object manipulation and soft laparoscopic photodynamic therapy) are presented to demonstrate the potential application of the proposed design.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 1, 2024
  2. We provide a platform to examine the effect of inclusion geometry on three-dimensional metamaterial crystals to tune frequency-dependent effective properties for control of leading order dispersive behaviour. The crystal is non-magnetic and made from all dielectric components. The design provides novel dispersive properties using subwavelength resonances controlled by the geometry of the media. We numerically calculate the effective tensors of the metamaterial to identify frequency intervals where the metamaterial exhibits band gaps as well as intervals of normal dispersion and double negative dispersion. The frequency intervals can be explicitly controlled by adjusting the geometry and placement of the dielectric inclusions within the period cell of the crystal.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2023
  3. Electricity markets are cleared by a two-stage, sequential process consisting of a forward (day-ahead) market and a spot (real-time) market. While their design goal is to achieve efficiency, the lack of sufficient competition introduces many opportunities for price manipulation. To discourage this phenomenon, some Independent System Operators (ISOs) mandate generators to submit (approximately) truthful bids in the day-ahead market. However, without fully accounting for all participants' incentives (generators and loads), the application of such a mandate may lead to unintended consequences. In this paper, we model and study the interactions of generators and inelastic loads in a two-stage settlement where generators are required to bid truthfully in the day-ahead market. We show that such mandate, when accounting for generator and load incentives, leads to a {generalized} Stackelberg-Nash game where load decisions (leaders) are performed in day-ahead market and generator decisions (followers) are relegated to the real-time market. Furthermore, the use of conventional supply function bidding for generators in real-time, does not guarantee the existence of a Nash equilibrium. This motivates the use of intercept bidding, as an alternative bidding mechanism for generators in the real-time market. An equilibrium analysis in this setting, leads to a closed-form solution that unveils severalmore »insights. Particularly, it shows that, unlike standard two-stage markets, loads are the winners of the competition in the sense that their aggregate payments are less than that of the competitive equilibrium. Moreover, heterogeneity in generators cost has the unintended effect of mitigating loads market power. Numerical studies validate and further illustrate these insights.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 28, 2023
  4. Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 1, 2023
  5. Abstract Motivation

    Ubiquitination is widely involved in protein homeostasis and cell signaling. Ubiquitin E3 ligases are critical regulators of ubiquitination that recognize and recruit specific ubiquitination targets for the final rate-limiting step of ubiquitin transfer reactions. Understanding the ubiquitin E3 ligase activities will provide knowledge in the upstream regulator of the ubiquitination pathway and reveal potential mechanisms in biological processes and disease progression. Recent advances in mass spectrometry-based proteomics have enabled deep profiling of ubiquitylome in a quantitative manner. Yet, functional analysis of ubiquitylome dynamics and pathway activity remains challenging.

    Results

    Here, we developed a UbE3-APA, a computational algorithm and stand-alone python-based software for Ub E3 ligase Activity Profiling Analysis. Combining an integrated annotation database with statistical analysis, UbE3-APA identifies significantly activated or suppressed E3 ligases based on quantitative ubiquitylome proteomics datasets. Benchmarking the software with published quantitative ubiquitylome analysis confirms the genetic manipulation of SPOP enzyme activity through overexpression and mutation. Application of the algorithm in the re-analysis of a large cohort of ubiquitination proteomics study revealed the activation of PARKIN and the co-activation of other E3 ligases in mitochondria depolarization-induced mitophagy process. We further demonstrated the application of the algorithm in the DIA (data-independent acquisition)-based quantitative ubiquitylome analysis.

    Availability and<a href='#' onclick='$(this).hide().next().show().next().show();return false;' style='margin-left:10px;'>more »</a><span style='display:none;'>implementation

    Source code and binaries are freely available for download at URL: https://github.com/Chenlab-UMN/Ub-E3-ligase-Activity-Profiling-Analysis, implemented in python and supported on Linux and MS Windows.

    Supplementary information

    Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.

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  6. Snakes are a remarkable evolutionary success story. Numerous snake-inspired robots have been proposed over the years. Soft robotic snakes (SRS), with their continuous and smooth bending capability, can better mimic their biological counterparts' unique characteristics. Prior SRSs are limited to planar operation with a limited number of planar gaits. We propose a novel SRS with spatial bending ability and investigate snake locomotion gaits beyond the planar gaits of the state-of-the-art systems. We derive a complete floating-base kinematic model of the SRS and use the model to derive joint-space trajectories for serpentine and inward/outward rolling locomotion gaits. These gaits are experimentally validated under varying frequency and amplitude of gait cycles. The results qualitatively and quantitatively validate the proposed SRSs' ability to leverage spatial bending to achieve locomotion gaits not possible with current SRS designs.
  7. Compliant grasping is crucial for secure handling objects not only vary in shapes but also in mechanical properties. We propose a novel soft robotic gripper with decoupled stiffness and shape control capability for performing adaptive grasping with minimum system complexity. The proposed soft fingers conform to object shapes facilitating the handling of objects of different types, shapes, and sizes. Each soft gripper finger has a length constraining mechanism (an articulable rigid backbone) and is powered by pneumatic muscle actuators. We derive the kinematic model of the gripper and use an empirical approach to simultaneously map input pressures to stiffness control and bending deformation of fingers. We use these mappings to demonstrate decoupled stiffness and shape (bending) control of various grasping configurations. We conduct tests to quantify the grip quality when holding objects as the gripper changes orientation, the ability to maintain the grip as the gripper is subjected to translational and rotational movements, and the external force perturbations required to release the object from the gripper under various stiffness and shape (bending) settings. The results validate the proposed gripper's performance and show how the decoupled stiffness and shape control can improve the grasping quality in soft robotic grippers.