Design of an Electro-pneumatic Control System for Soft Robotic Applications in Medicine and Industry
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The University of Dayton DIMLab (Design of Innovative Machines) is working in the area of soft robot design. In prior work, the DIMLab has investigated predictive CAD modeling of the PneuNet actuator, proposed by the Whitesides Research Group of Harvard University. PneuNet actuators are mainly used in soft robotic grippers capable of moving fragile or asymmetrical objects. The DIMLab has years of work invested in the design and production of soft pneumatic actuators, but has lacked an ability to test printed models at specific pressure increments. The basis of all soft robotic applications lies in having the ability to accurately control the pressure coming from the air supply. Digital pressure regulators exist but are costly and designed for much higher pressure applications. Furthermore, current pressure regulators are only applicable to industry as they must be connected to an external air supply confined to the work environment, which is less desirable for mobile applications. Another challenge is cataloging the relationship between the amount of supplied air pressure and the corresponding deflection of the soft robot. As of now, researchers have used a mechanical pressure regulator and have measured the displacement of soft robots by hand, which introduces significant human error in the recording of test data. This is a very time consuming process and must be repeated for every model that is to be tested. Rather, the developed system incorporates computer-based vision sensing to track the orientation of the soft robot, and allows user-interaction via a Graphical User Interface (GUI). This honors thesis proposes a working prototype which will serve as the foundation for all of the DIMLab’s soft robot testing now and in the future. In addition, research will continue in the development of PneuNet-like actuators, including their design, simulation, and printing.
Andrew Murray, Dave Myszka
Primary Advisor's Department
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Stander Symposium, School of Engineering
Institutional Learning Goals
"Design of an Electro-pneumatic Control System for Soft Robotic Applications in Medicine and Industry" (2023). Stander Symposium Projects. 2867.
Poster: 9-10:15 a.m., Kennedy Union Ballroom
Presentation: 1:40-2:00 p.m., Kennedy Union 311