We have developed a composite of two entangled foams: an elastomer and a low melting temperature metal, that exhibits dynamic shape morphing and shape memory actuation. Additionally, by melting and freezing the metal foam, the composites can both self-heal and be assembled into larger, continuous structures from smaller sub-components. The composite has been embedded into two soft robotic devices to demonstrate the capability for reversible stiffness in soft robots.
We have developed a hyperelastic light emitting capacitor (HLEC) that can expand its surface area by >635% while actively emitting light and sensing this deformation. The center layer is a thin sheet of silicone with embedded ZnS phosphors that glow under a high electric field. Transparent, ionically conductive hydrogel electrodes sandwich the center dielectric layer.
Using our custom DMP-SL printer, we can quickly fabricate high resolution actuators from soft materials. Inspired by the complex three-dimensional arrangement of muscles in octopus tentacles, we have designed soft machines that incorporate multiple actuators into a monolithic, printed structure. These antagonistic pairs allow the printed tentacle to actuate over a wide range of motion. As shown in the video to the right, multiple antagonistic pairs can be combined to create complex, 3D motions.
High-DOF actuators can be quickly prototyped as a monolithic structure.
High speed actuation with periods of less than 70ms.