Dillon Montgomery Balk


This project reflects research conducted as part of a course project designed to give students experience in the research process. Course: MEE 498 01



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This research involves the design, simulation and fabrication of novel soft robot actuators. Since the 1970s, robot design engineers have been experimenting soft materials in robotics components. Inspired by natural organisms, “soft robotics” involves the integration of a soft polymer material into a mechanism in order to achieve a variety of configurations. Pneumatically actuated by air through hollow channels within, a soft robotics component allows for very large, non-linear, displacements compared to classical rigid body components. These attributes allow soft robotics to have potential biomedical, industrial, and rescue applications. This research project involves designing and simulating various soft robotic actuators to mimic primitive motions, including twisting, bending, elongating, and angular displacement. The various actuators can be assembled to form serial and parallel chains to perform basic robotic tasks, such as search-and-retrieval or pick and place operations. Digital light processing (DLP) technology is an appealing fabrication technique because it is able to create very intricate parts with high resolution. Utilizing UDRI’s DLP capabilities, experiments with physical prototypes will calibrate and validate the simulation results.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Course Project

Primary Advisor

Andrew P. Murray, Dave Harry Myszka

Primary Advisor's Department

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering


Stander Symposium project, School of Engineering

Soft Robot Actuator Design for Digital Light Processing