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  1. Abstract

    Assistive wearable soft robotic systems have recently made a surge in the field of biomedical robotics, as soft materials allow safe and transparent interactions between the users and devices. A recent interest in the field of soft pneumatic actuators (SPAs) has been the introduction of a new class of actuators called fabric soft pneumatic actuators (FSPAs). These actuators exploit the unique capabilities of different woven and knit textiles, including zero initial stiffness, full collapsibility, high power-to-weight ratio, puncture resistant, and high stretchability. By using 2D manufacturing methods we are able to create actuators that can extend, contract, twist, bend, and perform a combination of these motions in 3D space. This paper presents a comprehensive simulation and design tool for various types of FSPAs using finite element method (FEM) models. The FEM models are developed and experimentally validated, in order to capture the complex non-linear behavior of individual actuators optimized for free displacement and blocked force, applicable for wearable assistive tasks.