The following Great Innovative Idea is from Osman Dogan Yirmibesoglu, from Oregon State University. His paper called 3D Printing Soft Robots and Design Rules, coauthored by John Morrow and Yigit Menguc, was one of the featured talks at the Computing Community Consortium (CCC) sponsored Material Robotics (MaRo) Workshop at the 2017 Robotics Science and Systems (RSS) Conference.
Capabilities of soft robotic systems are increasing with the development of new manufacturing techniques. And the needs for more soft robots are emerging in the application areas such as biomimicry, cooperative robotics (co-robotics), medical robotics, exploratory robots, etc. To be able to reliably perform in these areas, soft robot control systems and sensors require more attention. In our work, we presented the mechanical design and fabrication steps of a hybrid soft sensor to measure the motion of soft robots more accurately by combining data from the inertial measurement units (IMUs) and the soft strain sensor. The hybrid sensor is made of a hyperelastic silicone elastomer that contains embedded microchannels filled with conductive liquid metal. It also encapsulates two rigid IMUs near the edge points of a highly elastic substrate. This hybrid structure acts as a platform for combining rigid and soft sensors to improve the accuracy of angle measurements. More information about the hybrid soft sensor idea can be found in our paper. Link: http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/7743483/
The innovation of the proposed device is enabling a platform for the intelligent combination of sensor responses to produce more accurate soft robot motion measurements. As a result, soft robot motion can be controlled more reliably and it will open new application areas for soft robotics technology. In addition to the use of this sensor for soft robotics, it can be used for human body motion related projects. For example, this idea when merges into augmented reality and wearable sensor suits, will enable more realistic user experience in virtual reality based applications and games. Also, this idea will help to gather more reliable data in physical rehabilitation systems, and motion tracking systems.
Currently, I am working on 3D silicone printing and liquid metal printing projects with my teammates. These two projects are significant to solve main challenges lie ahead of soft robotics. Contemporary challenges emerged due to soft robot fabrication techniques which are based mainly on molding. Since researchers bake soft robots inside molds, limitations in terms of achievable geometrical complexity emerge and decrease the number of degrees of freedoms. Our main goal is to overcome these challenges with the use of additive manufacturing techniques which will help us to fabricate more complex soft robots in the near future. As for now, our first step is to modify main soft robot fabrication materials for making them compatible with 3D printing.
My name is Osman Dogan Yirmibesoglu, and I am a Ph.D. candidate in Robotics at Oregon State University. I have just finished my second year in the program. In OSU, my main research area is in soft robotics. I am trying to manufacture robots that made out of silicone materials. Before I came to the USA, I finished my double major degree in mechanical engineering and electronics engineering. My undergrad university is located in Istanbul – Turkey. I have been making functional devices and robots. My main goal is to build a number of robots equal to my age. Currently, I have built 20 different robots. I am also preparing YouTube videos for the robots and systems that I have been built and worked with. You can see them from this playlist: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QvcFKwouqwE&list=PLluLOP5FCpoNbyi4tEQUztGSMB8F9D0Ag