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Bio-Design and Manufacturing  2018 Vol.1 No.1 P.14-25

http://doi.org/10.1007/s42242-018-0001-6


Principles and methods for stiffness modulation in soft robot design and development


Author(s):  Yang Yang, Yingtian Li, Yonghua Chen

Affiliation(s):  College of Information Engineering, Shenzhen University, Shenzhen, China; more

Corresponding email(s):   yhchen@hku.hk

Key Words:  Variable stiffness · Stiffness modulation · Soft robots · Acoustics · Ultrasonic


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Yang Yang, Yingtian Li, Yonghua Chen. Principles and methods for stiffness modulation in soft robot design and development[J]. Journal of Zhejiang University Science D, 2018, 1(1): 14-25.

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Abstract: 
Compared to traditional rigid robots, soft robots, primarily made of deformable, or less rigid materials, have good adaptability, conformability and safety in interacting with the environment. Although soft robots have shown great potentials for extended applications and possibilities that are impossible or difficult for rigid body robots, it is of great importance for them to have the capability of controllable stiffness modulation. Stiffness modulation allows soft robots to have reversible change between the compliant, or flexible state and the rigid state. In this paper, we summarize existing principles and methods for stiffness modulation in soft robotic development and divide them into four groups based on their working principles. Acoustic-based methods have been proposed as the potential fifth group in stiffness modulation of soft robots. Initial design proposals based on the proposed acoustic method are presented, and challenges in further development are highlighted.

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