Article: Shepherd (2014) “Soft Robotics: a review and progress towards faster and higher torque actuators (presentation video) “, Proc. SPIE 9056, Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2014, 905602 (May 9, 2014)
Abstract: Last year, nearly 160,000 industrial robots were shipped worldwide—into a total market valued at ~$26 Bn (including hardware, software, and peripherals). Service robots for professional (e.g., defense, medical, agriculture) and personal (e.g., household, handicap assistance, toys, and education) use accounted for ~16,000 units, $3.4 Bn and ~3,000,000 units, $1.2 Bn respectively. The vast majority of these robotic systems use fully actuated, rigid components that take little advantage of passive dynamics. Soft robotics is a field that is taking advantage of compliant actuators and passive dynamics to achieve several goals: reduced design, manufacturing and control complexity, improved energy efficiency, more sophisticated motions, and safe human-machine interactions to name a few. The potential for societal impact is immense. In some instances, soft actuators have achieved commercial success; however, large scale adoption will require improved methods of controlling non-linear systems, greater reliability in their function, and increased utility from faster and more forceful actuation. In my talk, I will describe efforts from my work in the Whitesides group at Harvard to prove sophisticated motions in these machines using simple controls, as well capabilities unique to soft machines. I will also describe the potential for combinations of different classes of soft actuators (e.g., electrically and pneumatically actuated systems) to improve the utility of soft robots. 1. World Robotics – Industrial Robots 2013, 2013, International Federation of Robotics. © (2014) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.