Pellicular Morphing Surfaces for Soft Robots

Krishna Manaswi Digumarti, Andrew Conn, Jonathan Rossiter
2019 IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters  
General rights This document is made available in accordance with publisher policies. Please cite only the published version using the reference above. Full terms of use are available: Abstract-Soft structures in nature endow organisms across scales with the ability to drastically deform their bodies and exhibit complex behaviours while overcoming challenges in their environments. Inspired by microstructures found in the cell membranes of the Euglena family of microorganisms, which exhibit
more » ... which exhibit giant changes in shape during their characteristic euglenoid movement, this paper presents the design, fabrication and characterisation of bio-inspired deforming surfaces. The result is a surface of interconnected strips, that deforms in 2D and 3D due to simple shear between adjacent members. We fabricate flexible polymeric strips and demonstrate three different shapes arising out of the same actuation by imposing various constraints. We characterise the strips in terms of the force required to separate them and show that the bio-inspired cross section of these strips enables them to hold up to 8N of force with a meagre 0.5mm of material thickness, while still being flexible to deform. Further, the design of a soft robot module, with an actively deformable surface has been presented which replicates the mechanism of shape change seen in the Euglena. This work shows the potential for this new form of shape morphing surface in realising biomimetic soft robots exhibiting large changes in shape.
doi:10.1109/lra.2019.2901981 fatcat:pyswmbqbq5cplpmogwicorhwwa