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3D-Printed ‘Soft’ Robotic Tentacle Displays New Level Of Agility

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Cornell University engineers have developed a method to re-create the arrangement of muscles of an octopus tentacle, using an elastomer and 3D printer.

The research was groundbreaking since until now, 3D printing methods could not directly print a soft robotic device with as much agility and degree of freedom as the new method provides, according to Rob Shepherd, assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and senior author of the study.

The research team developed the mechanical design using a digital mask projection stereolithgraphy system for the 3D printing of soft actuators. The system is detailed in a recent study published in the journal Bioinspiration & Biomimetics, by Ph.D. student and lead-author Bryan Peele and the team of researchers.

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CAD model of actuator with four independently actuated pressure chambers, dimensions shown in mm.


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(a) Cross-section of single-channeled actuator with fixed boundary condition imposed on the base and uniform pressure applied to internal surface. (b) deformation of the single- channeled actuator. (c) stress field on the single-channeled actuator.

“Based on the demonstration reported here and the possibilities for improved materials, this nascent printing process for soft actuators is a promising route to sophisticated, biomimetic systems.”

The research was funded by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, 3M and the National Science Foundation.

Source: Cornell University

Content Curation: The content curation research for this article was funded by FOTO.COM

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