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Conference Paper

Auxetic metamaterial simplifies soft robot design


Fischer,  Peer       
Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, Max Planck Society;

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Mark, A. G., Palagi, S., Qiu, T., & Fischer, P. (2016). Auxetic metamaterial simplifies soft robot design. In 2016 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) (pp. 4951-4956). Piscataway, NJ, USA: IEEE.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000B-16D3-E
Soft materials are being adopted in robotics in order to facilitate biomedical applications and in order to achieve simpler and more capable robots. One route to simplification is to design the robot's body using `smart materials' that carry the burden of control and actuation. Metamaterials enable just such rational design of the material properties. Here we present a soft robot that exploits mechanical metamaterials for the intrinsic synchronization of two passive clutches which contact its travel surface. Doing so allows it to move through an enclosed passage with an inchworm motion propelled by a single actuator. Our soft robot consists of two 3D-printed metamaterials that implement auxetic and normal elastic properties. The design, fabrication and characterization of the metamaterials are described. In addition, a working soft robot is presented. Since the synchronization mechanism is a feature of the robot's material body, we believe that the proposed design will enable compliant and robust implementations that scale well with miniaturization.