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Leveraging elastic instabilities for amplified performance: Spine-inspired high-speed and high-force soft robots
YICHAO TANG(Department of Mechanical Engineering, Temple Unive)
USA | SCIENCE ADVANCES

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SCIENCE ADVANCES•8 May 2020•Vol 6, Issue 19

https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/sciadv.aaz6912

 

 

■ Researchers

YICHAO TANG

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Temple University, USA.

YINDING CHIJIEFENG SUN, TZU-HAO HUANG, OMID H. MAGHSOUDI, REW SPENCE, JIANGUO ZHAO, HAO SU, JIE YIN 

 

 

 

■ Abstract

Soft machines typically exhibit slow locomotion speed and low manipulation strength because of intrinsic limitations of soft materials. Here, we present a generic design principle that harnesses mechanical instability for a variety of spine-inspired fast and strong soft machines. Unlike most current soft robots that are designed as inherently and unimodally stable, our design leverages tunable snap-through bistability to fully explore the ability of soft robots to rapidly store and release energy within tens of milliseconds. We demonstrate this generic design principle with three high-performance soft machines: High-speed cheetah-like galloping crawlers with locomotion speeds of 2.68 body length/s, high-speed underwater swimmers (0.78 body length/s), and tunable low-to-high-force soft grippers with over 1 to 103 stiffness modulation (maximum load capacity is 11.4 kg). Our study establishes a new generic design paradigm of next-generation high-performance soft robots that are applicable for multifunctionality, different actuation methods, and materials at multiscales.

 

 

  • soft materials
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