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Harnessing bistability for directional propulsion of soft, untethered robots

Chen, Tian and Bilal, Osama R. and Shea, Kristina and Daraio, Chiara (2018) Harnessing bistability for directional propulsion of soft, untethered robots. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America . ISSN 0027-8424. (In Press) http://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20180515-101708023

[img] PDF - In Press Version
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[img] PDF (Appendix) - Supplemental Material
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[img] Video (MPEG) (Movie S1. Propulsion of a single stroke swimmer. The distance travelled is approximately 1.15l where l is the body length of the swimmer.) - Supplemental Material
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[img] Video (MPEG) (Movie S2. Shape memory muscle of different thickness exhibiting different time to activation.) - Supplemental Material
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[img] Video (MPEG) (Movie S3. Propulsion of a two-stroke swimmer. The sequence of activation is controlled by the thickness of the shape memory muscle. The distance traveled is approximately 1.9l (where l is the length of the single actuator swimmer).) - Supplemental Material
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[img] Video (MPEG) (Movie S4. Propulsion of a two-stroke directional swimmer. The programmed path is straight followed by a left turn. The distance traveled is approximately 0.5l after the first stroke, and a turn of 23.85° after the second stroke.) - Supplemental Material
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[img] Video (MPEG) (Movie S5. Propulsion of a two-stroke directional swimmer. The programmed path includes a left turn followed by a right turn. The rotation is approximately 21.64° after the first stroke, and −21.45° after the second stroke.) - Supplemental Material
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[img] Video (MPEG) (Movie S6. Shape memory muscle of different material exhibiting controlled activation depending on the surrounding temperature.) - Supplemental Material
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[img] Video (MPEG) (Movie S7. Propulsion of a reversing swimmer. The programmed operation includes a forward stroke, deployment of cargo, and a reverse stroke. The sequence of activation is controlled by the temperature of the surrounding environment. The first stroke ...) - Supplemental Material
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[img] Video (MPEG) (Movie S8. Internal mechanism of the actuator showing the shape memory muscle pushing the bistable mechanism from one equilibrium state to the next.) - Supplemental Material
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Abstract

In most macroscale robotic systems, propulsion and controls are enabled through a physical tether or complex onboard electronics and batteries. A tether simplifies the design process but limits the range of motion of the robot, while onboard controls and power supplies are heavy and complicate the design process. Here, we present a simple design principle for an untethered, soft swimming robot with preprogrammed, directional propulsion without a battery or onboard electronics. Locomotion is achieved by using actuators that harness the large displacements of bistable elements triggered by surrounding temperature changes. Powered by shape memory polymer (SMP) muscles, the bistable elements in turn actuate the robot’s fins. Our robots are fabricated using a commercially available 3D printer in a single print. As a proof of concept, we show the ability to program a vessel, which can autonomously deliver a cargo and navigate back to the deployment point.


Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1800386115DOIArticle
http://www.pnas.org/lookup/suppl/doi:10.1073/pnas.1800386115/-/DCSupplementalPublisherSupplemental material
ORCID:
AuthorORCID
Bilal, Osama R.0000-0003-3803-5084
Shea, Kristina0000-0003-3921-2214
Daraio, Chiara0000-0001-5296-4440
Additional Information: PNAS May 15, 2018. 201800386; published ahead of print May 15, 2018. Edited by John A. Rogers, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, and approved April 23, 2018 (received for review January 9, 2018). We thank Jung-Chew Tse for fabrication support and Connor McMahan and Ethan Pickering for support in experiments. This work was supported by Army Research Office Grant W911NF-17-1-0147 and Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (ETH) Postdoctoral Fellowship FEL-26 15-2 (to O.R.B.).
Funders:
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Army Research OfficeW911NF-17-1-0147
Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (ETH) Postdoctoral FellowshipFEL-26 15-2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20180515-101708023
Persistent URL:http://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20180515-101708023
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:86403
Collection:CaltechAUTHORS
Deposited By: Katherine Johnson
Deposited On:15 May 2018 17:37
Last Modified:15 May 2018 17:42

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