• Research

  • A Novel Soft Elbow Exosuit to Supplement Bicep Lifting Capacity

    This research presents the design of a soft elbow exosuit capable of providing supplemental lifting assistance by reducing muscle activity of the bicep muscle.  The aim is to improve the efficiency and endurance of workers who are tasked with repetitive lifting. The design consists of an array of pneumatically pressurized soft actuators, which are encased in nylon fabric that allows for a high force-to-weight ratio of 211.5 N/g.

  • Soft Poly-Limbs: Toward a New Paradigm of Mobile Manipulation for Daily Living Tasks

    We present the design and development of the fluid-driven, wearable, Soft Poly-Limb (SPL), from the Greek word polys, meaning many. The SPL utilizes the numerous traits of soft robotics to enable a novel approach in providing safe and compliant mobile manipulation assistance to healthy and impaired users. This wearable system equips the user with a controllable additional limb that is capable of complex three-dimensional motion in space.

  • Water Pipe Robot Utilizing Soft Inflatable Actuators

    This work presents the design and testing of a soft robot for water utility pipeline inspection. The preliminary findings of this new approach to conventional methods of pipe inspection demonstrate that a soft inflatable robot can successfully traverse the interior space of a range of diameter pipes without the need of adjusting mechanical components. The robot utilizes inflatable soft actuators with adjustable radius which, when pressurized, can mobilize the robot inside the pipe, or anchor it in place.

  • Soft Robotic Haptic Interface with Variable Stiffness for Rehabilitation of Neurologically Impaired Hand Function

    The human hand comprises complex sensorimotor functions that can be impaired by neurological diseases and traumatic injuries. Effective rehabilitation can bring the impaired hand back to a functional state because of the plasticity of the central nervous system to relearn and remodel the lost synapses in the brain. Current rehabilitation therapies focus on strengthening motor skills, such as grasping, employ multiple objects of varying stiffness so that affected persons can experience a wide range of strength training.

  • Soft-Inflatable Exosuit for Knee Rehabilitation

    This work focuses on the design, development and evaluation of a soft-inflatable exosuit for knee rehabilitation. Soft-inflatable actuators made of heat-sealable thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) materials are fabricated in beam-like structures of I cross-section and mechanically characterized for their torque performance in knee-extension assistance. The soft-inflatable actuators are integrated into a light-weight, low-cost and bodyconforming interface to assist the quadricep muscle groups during walking.

  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Soft Relief Device for Typing Applications

    Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) affects roughly 3%-6% of the working population ages 18-64.  This affliction is caused by applying stress on the median nerve that is routed through the carpal tunnel while it is at a positive or negative angle, greater than 15 degrees in either direction, to the human wrist. The median nerve can become inflamed and swollen due to pressure from the palmar carpal ligament causing numbness, stiffness and in some cases severe pain. Tasks like typing can become nearly impossible when the median nerve is inflamed.

  • Soft Robotic Glove

    Soft Robotic Glove for Hand Assistance

    This work presents a portable, soft robotic glove designed to augment hand rehabilitation and/or offer assistance to individuals with functional grasp pathologies. The robotic glove utilizes soft actuators consisting of molded elastomeric chambers with fiber reinforcements that induce specific bending, twisting and extending trajectories under fluid pressurization. These soft actuators were mechanically programmed to match and support the range of motion of individual fingers.

  • soft robotics diagram

    Pneumatic Networks for Soft Robotics that Actuate Rapidly

    Soft robots actuated by inflation of a pneumatic network (a “pneu-net”) of small channels in elastomeric materials are appealing for producing sophisticated motions with simple controls. Although current designs of pneu-nets achieve motion with large amplitudes, they do so relatively slowly (over seconds). This work presents a new design for pneu-nets that reduces the amount of gas needed for inflation of the pneu-net, and thus increases its speed of actuation.

  • Soft Fiber-reinforced Bending Actuators

    Soft fluidic actuators consisting of elastomeric matrices with embedded flexible materials are of particular interest to the robotics community because they are affordable and can be easily customized to a given application. However, the significant potential of such actuators is currently limited as their design has typically been based on intuition. In this work, a soft bending actuator consisting of a hemi-cylindrical composite tube with anisotropic bulk material properties consisting of elastomer with embedded helically wound fibers and a thin flexible sheet is presented.