Shuqi Wang, Jizhuang Fan, Yitao Pan, and Yubin Liu


Articulated soft actuator, self-driving, bionic limbs, sustainable locomotion


The pneumatic soft actuator has a great influence on the structural design of robot. However, the robot has the disadvantages of complex structure, heavy weight and a shorter sustainable locomotion time due to the soft actuator needs to be equipped with an external air cylinder. Here, we present a self-driving articulated soft actuator (SASA) to solve this problem. The proposed actuator consists of a linear and a semicircular soft chamber, which is bonded by non-stretchable material. The stretch and recovery motion of the SASA can be realised by controlling a solenoid valve and a one- way pump to adjust the flow direction of the pre-charged air. A deformation analysis model is performed to characterise several structural parameters and their effect on drive performance. Details on design decisions and experimental results analysis are presented based on trajectory planning. While reducing the overall mass and ensuring the motion efficiency, the actuator greatly improves the sustainable locomotion time. Meanwhile, the structure and control principle of the SASA can also provide a reference for the design of other soft robots without external sources.

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