Abstract – Soft fluidic actuators consisting of elastomeric matricesÂ with embedded flexible materials are of particular interestÂ to the robotics community because they are affordable and canÂ be easily customized to a given application. However, the significantÂ potential of such actuators is currently limited as their designÂ has typically been based on intuition. In this work, the principleÂ of operation of these actuators is comprehensively analyzed and
described through experimentally validated quasi-static analyticalÂ and finite-element method models for bending in free space andÂ force generation when in contact with an object. This study providesÂ a set of systematic design rules to help the robotics communityÂ create soft actuators by understanding how these vary their outputsÂ as a function of input pressure for a number of geometricalÂ parameters. Additionally, the proposed analytical model is implementedÂ in a controller demonstrating its ability to convert pressureÂ information to bending angle in real time. Such an understandingÂ of soft multimaterial actuators will allow future design conceptsÂ to be rapidly iterated and their performance predicted, thus enablingÂ new and innovative applications that produce more complexÂ motions to be explored.
P. Polygerinos, Z. Wang, B. Overvelde, K.C. Galloway, R.J. Wood, K. Bertoldi, C.J. Walsh, 2015. â€œModeling of Soft Fiber Reinforced Bending Actuators,â€ IEEE Transactions on Robotics (T-RO), 31(3): 778-789, 2015.