Advancement: Pneumatic Origami Joint

Speaker Name: 
Samira Zare
Speaker Title: 
PhD Student (Advisor: Mircea Teodorescu)
Speaker Organization: 
Computer Engineering
Start Time: 
Tuesday, September 4, 2018 - 11:00am
End Time: 
Tuesday, September 4, 2018 - 1:00pm
Engineering 2, Room 280
Mircea Teodorescu

Abstract:  With advancements in modern technology, devices tend to get smaller, more lightweight and more convenient to interact with. Soft robotics is one of the means of achieving these goals by using flexible and lightweight materials such as silicone and polyethylene as opposed to rigid and heavy alternatives. There are however cases where soft robotics may not be the best choice. Soft materials often do not have sturdy structures and as a result, are not a good candidate for walking robots. On the other hand, Origami structures have the advantage of being lightweight, sturdy and at the same time, they can change size depending on the environment they are in. They can even be produced in miniature sizes for delivering drugs into the human body and also in large quantities at low costs. This research utilizes the best of both worlds of soft robotics and origami structures to create a robotic joint by combining them in a technique called pneumati! c origami.

The evolution of my design started with modeling, implementation and testing of a new pneumatic origami joint using LPDE polyethylene sheets, pouch motors, and simple vertex origami models. These models showed a significantly larger rotational motion compared to the conventional pneumatic folding joints. Finally, I simulated and developed a manipulator consisting of two pneumatic origami joints that could move objects.

This work will continue in the future by optimizing the soft joint model using dynamic feedback control and the reinforcement learning method. Subsequently, I plan on designing and automating a miniature pneumatic system using the proposed soft joint model. Finally, I will develop an origami quadruped which can change its shape and movement from crawling to walking or vice versa depending on its surrounding environment in an effort to reach the ultimate goal of this design which is to enable robots to explore and traverse in places where many of the current robots are unable to access.