"Biodegradable Soft Actuator with Improved Feedback and Sensorics"
Biodegradable Soft Actuator with Improved Feedback and Sensorics
Sprache des Titels:
The impact of soft robotics and electronics on our everyday life is growing drastically. Their abilities to continuously deform and adapt to surfaces give rise to new types of devices that safely interact with their environment, contributing to progress in fields like medicine, biology or industry. In those areas, the production of soft robots still relies heavily on silicone-based materials or other non-renewable resources, which exhibit poor or no biodegradability. In order to increase sustainability in the field of robotics, exploiting materials that are benign to the environment after disposal is crucial for state-of-the-art applications.
In this thesis I present design, fabrication and characterization of a full biodegradable soft pneumatic actuator, by processing gelatin-based hydrogels combined with cotton fiber reinforcements. The actuator reaches a bending angle of 286 at an input pressure of 50 kPa and exceeds 300.000 cycles in a cyclic actuation setup. Furthermore, I functionalized the actuator by designing and implementing feedback mechanisms like optical deformation-state indication and tactile sensing by utilizing riboflavin and a biogel pressure sensor respectively. The incorporation of a biodegradable suction cup additionally enables object manipulation. Various objects with a weight up to 119 g can be lifted 16 cm vertically. I also showed actuation under water for 1.5 h with a biogel actuator encapsulated in vegetable oil.
The findings of this thesis demonstrate that biodegradable materials from renewable resources like gelatin already provide a sufficient base to replace silicone-based elastomers in soft robotics or even electronics.