Organic and synthetic fibers present a wide range of mechanical and functional properties which are useful in fab- ricating sensors, actuators, and tailoring structural properties in soft robotic applications. Despite the advantages of using fibers in soft robotics, current manual approaches to embed fibers in soft materials restrict many practical applications. In this project we are developing tension based methodologies for automated fiber embedding in 2D patterns. The current approach uses a bench top 3D printer, direct extrusion of matrix materials into custom designed molds, customized weaving templates, and a fiber dispensing tool head. Fibers can be embedded at specific depths, orientations, and weave densities. This approach enables tailoring of mechanical properties as well as functionalization for various soft robotics applications.

More information:

Jain, T. Stalin, E. Kanhere and P. V. y. Alvarado, “Flexible Fiber Interconnects for Soft Mechatronics,” in IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters, vol. 5, no. 3, pp. 3907-3914, July 2020, doi: 10.1109/LRA.2020.2982367.

Calais and P. Valdivia y Alvarado, “Advanced functional materials for soft robotics: tuning physicochemical properties beyond rigidity control,” Multifunctional Materials, vol. 2, no. 4, p. 042001, 2019/12/31 2019, doi: 10.1088/2399-7532/ab4f9d

Stalin, N. K. Thanigaivel, V. S. Joseph and P. V. Alvarado, “Automated Fiber Embedding for Tailoring Mechanical and Functional Properties of Soft Robot Components,” 2019 2nd IEEE International Conference on Soft Robotics (RoboSoft), Seoul, Korea (South), 2019, pp. 762-767, doi: 10.1109/ROBOSOFT.2019.8722752.