Designable Compliance for Soft and Semi-Rigid Robots Capable of Dynamical Behaviors
We leverage the inherent mechanics of robots to make them robust and energy-efficient. Compared to traditional rigid robot designs, compliant robots offer greater flexibility and adaptability, but this comes at a high cost of design and fabrication complexity. Our strategy is to design new compliant mechanisms whose inherent mechanics are controlled by geometric parameters, enabling engineers to tune a robot’s natural response independently of its materials and method of fabrication, or a robot to tune its own behavior on site.
We are particularly interested in lattice and tessellation structures and small topological and geometric changes produce different anisotropies, snap-through, or buckling behavior. We develop reduced-parameter models for these designs and demonstrate both theoretically and experimentally how these parameters can be optimized for specific applications, including manipulation, robotic reconfiguration, and jumping.
Our current active projects include:
- Mechanical characterization of 3D printed lattices using compliant materials such as TPU
- Snap-through design for morphological reconfiguration in systems including an hybrid aerial vehicle, a bistable gripper, and a jumper
- Experimental exploration on the effect of compliance on robot performance and efficiency in dynamical tasks, including a hybrid aerial vehicle and underwater swimmer