Soft materials are great at damping energy — that’s why rubber tires are so good at absorbing the shock of bumps and potholes. But if researchers are going to build autonomous soft systems, like soft robots, they’ll need a way to transmit energy through soft materials.
Now, researchers at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), in collaboration with colleagues at the California Institute of Technology, have developed a way to send mechanical signals through soft materials.
The research is described in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
“Soft autonomous systems have received a lot of attention because, just like the human body or other biological systems, they can be adaptive and perform delicate movements. However, the highly dissipative nature of soft materials limits or altogether prevents certain functions,” said Jordan Raney, postdoctoral fellow at SEAS and first author of the paper. “By storing energy in the architecture itself we can make up for the energy losses due to dissipation, allowing the propagation of mechanical signals across long distances.”
The system uses the centuries-old concept of bistable beams — structures stable in two distinct state — to store and release elastic energy along the path of a wave. The system consists of a chain of bistable elastomeric beams connected by elastomeric linear springs. When those beams are deformed, they snap and store energy in the form of elastic deformation. As the signal moves down the elastomer, it snaps the beams back into place, releasing the stored energy and sending the signal downstream like a line of dominos. The bistable system prevents the signal from dissipating downstream.
“This design solves two fundamental problems in transmitting information through materials,” said Katia Bertoldi, the John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Natural Sciences at SEAS and senior author of the paper. “It not only overcomes dissipation, but it also eliminates dispersive effects, so that the signal propagates without distortion. As such, we maintain signal strength and clarity from start to end.”
The beam geometry requires precise fabrication techniques. If the angle or thickness of one beam is off by one degree or millimeter, the whole system fails.
The team used advanced 3D printing techniques to fabricate the system.
“We’re developing new materials and printing methods that enable the fabrication of soft materials with programmable bistable elements,” said Jennifer A. Lewis, the Hansjorg Wyss Professor of Biologically Inspired Engineering and coauthor of the paper.
The team designed and printed a soft logic gate using this system. The gate, which looks like a tuning fork, can be controlled to act as either as an AND or as an OR gate.
“It’s amazing what you can do using simple beams — a building block that’s been around hundreds of years,” said Bertoldi. “You can do new stuff with a very old, well studied and very simple component.”
Learn more: Transmitting energy in soft materials
The Latest on: Autonomous soft systems
via Google News
The Latest on: Autonomous soft systems
- What to expect when Beresheet launches to (and lands on) the Moon on February 18, 2019 at 6:46 pm
Thanks to some extremely helpful email exchanges with Yoav Landsman, a SpaceIL senior systems engineer ... SpaceX will try to catch the Falcon 9 booster on their autonomous drone ship, Of Course I Sti... […]
- The Most Eventful Night in the White House Situation Room: Year 2051 on February 16, 2019 at 10:36 pm
She revamped the public education system K-12 and made four years of university part ... that it was human ingenuity that was going to win the next war not the number of autonomous weapons she had in ... […]
- Embedded Software Market in RTOS Segment to Observe 11% CAGR Till 2024: Qualcomm, IBM, HCL, Advantech, Toshiba and 18 Other Companies Profiled on February 16, 2019 at 8:25 am
The real-time system is classified into two types, soft and hard. The soft RTS offers less accuracy and strictness on time while hard RTS delivers the exact output at the required time. The manufactur... […]
- Transportation Weekly: Didi woes, how Nuro met Softbank, Amazon’s appetite on February 16, 2019 at 6:05 am
As I’ve written before, consider this a soft launch ... based startup has been developing an autonomous vertical takeoff and landing cargo transport system that can operate outside of airport ... […]
- The Story Behind BMW And The North Face Futurelight Camper on February 12, 2019 at 9:20 am
The BMW GINA is a cloth-covered, form-changing, autonomous concept vision ... Campers have featured in projects previously, yet this is the first one with a soft-shell material. NB: How would you desc... […]
- Technical insight: Safe robotics – collaboration without incident on February 7, 2019 at 5:25 am
It consists of a Flexi Soft safety controller and a safety laser scanner ... make Safe Robotics Area Protection a future-proof safety system that enables flexible, autonomous machines and robots to ad... […]
- Philosopher Engineer on February 6, 2019 at 7:00 am
Fast emergence of cyber-physical systems like artificial intelligence, robotics, autonomous vehicles ... on hard skills and prioritizing them over soft skills will prevent countries fully ... […]
- 2018 Aston Martin DB11 Coupe Review on February 5, 2019 at 5:07 am
Safety systems include collision mitigation systems, autonomous driver aids and parking ... and offers an opulent and finely crafted cabin, soft touch materials and high quality line the interior ... […]
- Video Friday: Soft Robot Impedance Control, Autonomous Rescue Drone, and RoboSimian Skating on July 27, 2018 at 9:01 am
Some interesting and practical work from the Autonomous Systems Lab at ETH Zurich on using drones for ... Daily Portal] via [ Robotstart] Soft robots equipped with variable stiffness actuators (VSA) a... […]
- Annual Reviews publishes first multidisciplinary autonomous systems review journal on June 5, 2018 at 4:37 am
Applications include artificial touch, soft micro and bio-inspired robotics, minimally invasive medical technologies, rehabilitative robotics, autonomous flight, airspace management, and systems biolo... […]
via Bing News