3D-printing air pressure sensors and actuators

 

This project explores the possibilities of 3D-printing bellow-shaped air chambers in a flexible material to be used as actuators or sensors. The potentialities of this technology are presented in a soft robotic hand that is able to shake hands with people.

Goals of the project

It is expected that robots will become omnipresent in our lives. This creates the need to rethink the current way we interact with robots and make Human-Robot Interaction (HRI) more intuitive and safe. Soft robotics focuses on the application of soft materials in robotics to improve this human-robot interaction. In this soft robotics project, 3D-printing and air pressure are used to create soft actuators and sensors. 

A hand-shaking robot that ‘feels’ how hard you squeeze its hand and squeezes back accordingly was created as a metaphor for how this technology may improve HRI. The new interactions that are enabled by the technology can be used to enhance orthotics, prosthetics, care robots and exploratory robots.