Latest Papers

ASME Journal of Mechanisms and Robotics

    A Compliant Hinge Joint Driven by the PneuNets Bending Actuator

    Abstract

    While soft robots enjoy the benefits of high adaptability and safety, their inherent flexibility makes them suffer from low load-carrying capacity and motion precision, which limits their applications to a broader range of fields. To address this problem, we propose a novel compliant hinge joint with a stiff backbone for load-carrying coupled with soft pneumatic networks (PneuNets) bending actuators. We derive a pseudo-rigid-body model of the joint design and validate it through experiments and simulations. The results show that the joint can achieve a large range of bending angles. The off-axis stiffness is from 16.74 to 627.63 times the in-axis stiffness. This design can carry a heavy load off-axis while maintaining the in-axis flexibility. This work lays out the foundation for designing high-performance soft robots by combining various flexure mechanisms and pneumatic bending actuators.

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