Maryland Robotics Student Seminar: Bio-Inspired, Underwater Soft Robot

Friday, February 25, 2022
2:00 p.m.
IRB-4105
Lena Johnson
301 405 8870
ljohns14@umd.edu

Bio-Inspired, Underwater Soft Robot - Buoyancy and Actuation Control Using Fluidic Circuitry

Sophie Roberts-Weigert
Undergraduate Student, Mechanical Engineering
Advisor: Elenore Tubaldi

Abstract
I work with Eleonora Tubaldi, in conjunction with existing research by Ryan Sochol, to explore novel areas of soft robotics by integrating fluidic circuits and soft robotic actuators in a bio-inspired robot. I model a sea turtle-like robot using Solidworks to be made entirely of flexible and inflexible 3D-printed material and require little to no additional hardware, and yet be able to move in a controlled, life-like fashion. The robot model is designed for LaserJet printers, which can rapidly print flexible and inflexible materials side-by-side, along with water-soluble support material which is relatively easy to remove. Streams of air and water flowing through the robot act like electric circuits, making use of electronic analogue fluidic components, including diodes and “normally open” and “normally closed” transistors. Basic rotary motors use suction to power the fluidic circuits, which actuate flipper-shaped soft actuators in periodic motion to propel the robot forwards and control the robot's buoyancy.

About the Robotics Student Seminars
The Robotics Student Seminars at the University of Maryland College Park are a student-run series of talks given by current robotics students.

The purpose of these talks is to:

  • Encourage interaction between Robotics students from different subfields;
  • Provide an opportunity for Robotics students to be aware of and possibly get involved in the research their peers are conducting;
  • Provide an opportunity for Robotics students to receive feedback on their current research;
  • Provide speaking opportunities for Robotics students.

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