Leveraging Elastic instabilities for Amplified Performance: spine-inspired high-speed and high-force soft robots [article]

Yichao Tang, Yinding Chi, Jiefeng Sun, Tzu-Hao Huang, Omid H. Maghsoudi, Andrew Spence, Jianguo Zhao, Hao Su, Jie Yin
2020 Science Advances   accepted
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
more » ... y 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.
doi:10.1126/sciadv.aaz6912 pmid:32494714 pmcid:PMC7209986 arXiv:1810.08571v2 fatcat:zgx3wbj6ynfmbjhfl3xpwtcvwm