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Space Technology Research Grants

Active Elastic Skins for Soft Robotics

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

Active Elastic Skins for Soft Robotics
The use of the word robotic implies a rigid, bulky, and complex device. However, a confluence of factors now makes it possible to shed this stereotype and build robots that exploit the properties of soft deformable materials. The goal of this project is to enable a class of soft robots where all the functional elements are embedded in a removable and transferable skin. This research will enable active elastic skins, where a 2D skin may be wrapped around any highly deformable 3D object to create a highly functional soft robot. Using this approach, any deformable material may be the foundation of a soft robot, such as an inflatable balloon or block of foam. Active elastic skins will be fabricated in 2D, transported in 2D, and then positioned on an inert 3D host to enable a fully functional 3D robot. Active elastic skins will enable more efficient transportation of robots, increased versatility in robots, and new paradigms in soft robotic design. More »

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