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Soft Robotics

Soft materials in robots allow them to be adaptable by withstanding impact, temporarily store energy and deform to desired profiles. Additionally, the ability of soft materials to change dimensions (e.g. a 3D soft ball can be stretched into a 2D sheet or a 1D rod) make them a suitable candidate for being incorporated into robots moving in unstructured environments. I pursue research design and control of terrestrial soft robots with foreseen applications of exploration and search & rescue tasks in unstructured and semi-structured environments (e.g. natural disasters).

Figure SR-1 : Family of soft material robots actuated by shape memory alloys (SMAs) and motor-tendons. These robots use mechanisms to manipulate friction to effect locomotion. 



Design of highly deformable, 3D-printed, motor-tendon terrestrial soft material robots capable of locomotion in variable environments and ability to carry loads.

Motor-tendon actuated soft robot

Video SR-1 : The video illustrates the basic concept of a soft body robot capable of locomotion on variable surfaces, capable of carrying load (for example it's own batteries) and climb on inclines.    


Design and locomotion control of soft robot using friction manipulation and motor-tendon actuation. [DOI:10.1109/TRO.2016.2588888]

Design and locomotion control of soft robot using friction manipulation and motor-tendon actuation

Video SR-2 : The video shows the soft material nature of the robot body and the placement of the motor-tendon actuators. Next it illustrates the discretization and functioning of the two friction mechanisms - virtual grip and drictional friction mechanism. Thereafter, the video shows translation and rotation of the robot with three different tendon paths using inching and hopping control sequences. Finally, the video concludes with two two different robots moving using different friction manipulation mechanisms.


Data-driven, control-primitive based, model-free control of soft material robots. [DOI:10.1109/IROS.2015.7353509], [arXiv]

Model-free control framework for multi-limb soft robots

Video SR-3 : The video illustrates conceptual implementation of the data-driven, control-primitive based model-free control framework for soft robots. The three-limbed, shape memory alloy (SMA) actuated soft robot has two control primitives (termed as behaviors) for each limb. The use of graph theory facilitates animal-like adaptation to scenarios like loss-of limb

Highly deformable 3-D printed soft robot generating inching and crawling motions with variable friction legs. [DOI:10.1109/IROS.2013.6697016]

Highly Deformable 3-D Printed Soft Robot

Video SR-4 : The video illustrates basic motions of inching and crawling in a shape memory alloy actuated soft robot. The motion is result of interaction between periodic actuation (harmonic oscillator) of the two over-lapping actuators. The phase difference between these periodic actuation results in two different body deformation patterns of crawling and inching that results locomotion. 

Publications

  1. V. Vikas, E. Cohen, R. Grassi, C. Sozer and B. Trimmer, "Design and locomotion control of soft robot using friction manipulation and motor-tendon actuation", IEEE Transactions on Robotics, Aug 2016 [DOI:10.1109/TRO.2016.2588888]
  2. V. Vikas, T. Umedachi and B. Trimmer, “Softworms: A New Development Platform for Design and Control of Deformable Robots”, Bioinspiration and Biomimetics, Jan 2016 [DOI:10.1088/1748-3190/11/2/025001]
  3. N. Kastor, M. Hill, V. Vikas, R. White and B. Trimmer, "Semi-Autonomous Soft Robotic Platform for Terrestrial Locomotion'', New Frontiers and Applications for Soft Robotics, IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, Oct 2015. [POSTER]
  4. V. Vikas, P. Grover and B. Trimmer, “Model-free control of multi-limb soft robots”, IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, Oct 2015. [DOI:10.1109/IROS.2015.7353509], [arXiv]
  5. V. Vikas, P. Templeton and B. Trimmer. "Design and control of a soft, shape-changing, crawling robot". [pre-print]
  6. E. Cohen, V. Vikas, B. Trimmer and S. McCarthy “Design methodologies for soft material robots through additive manufacturing, from prototyping to locomotion”, ASME International Design Engineering Technical Conference, Aug 2015. [DOI:10.1115/DETC2015-47507]
  7. V. Vikas, P. Grover and B. Trimmer, "Model-free control framework for multi-limb soft material robots", 7th International Symposium on Adaptive Motion of Animals and Machines, June, 2015.[POSTER]
  8. T. Umedachi, V.Vikas and B. Trimmer, "Highly Deformable 3-D Printed Soft Robot Generating Inching and Crawling Locomotions with Variable Friction Legs'', IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, Nov 2013. [DOI:10.1109/IROS.2013.6697016]