From Friday 30/11/12 - 3/12/12 I was asked to take part in a workshop at the University of applied Arts (Angewandte) in Vienna. The workshop was based around fabrication methods for the development of soft robotic actuators initially outlined by the Whitesides research group (Harvard). This particular method was the central focus for my research thesis on the AAC Adaptive Architecture and Computation MSc that I completed this year.
The aim of the workshop was to introduce new people to the field of soft robotics with a view to developing new perspectives.
In Particular subjects explored were:
- Fluid actuation as an
alternative to compressed air
The workshop itself was organised and hosted by The Liquid Things (2012) research project at the Angewandte, with additional contributions from Ruairi Glynn and Manuel Kretzer.
More info about the workshops and work done in this area can be seen here
Sometimes its necessary (but a challenge) to go back to absolute first principles… I’ve learnt a lot from making these incredibly simple actuators… More to follow.
Ruairi Glynn and Stephen Gage at the Bartlett have been asking about the potential to scale
up the actuators for quite some time now. I’ve been ‘umming and ahhing’ about this for a while
and have thought of a list of reasons why it wouldn’t be possible. Recently I decided to bight
the bullet a give it a go. There’s been countless tests to get to this point but some subtle
tweaks in the mould material and construction of the moulds has made this possible.
In fact I think up scaling the material system is not only possible but actually essential to some
degree as it provides:
- Increased robustness
- Increased tolerance for human error during construction
- An enhanced seal when adhering the two parts (Compression and tension side)
- More possibility to make repairs if necessary
- Cheaper mould material due to changed methods
- Increased variety of potential applications