24-673   Soft Robots: Mechanics, Design and Modeling

Location: Pittsburgh

Units: 12

Semester Offered: Spring

Soft, elastically-deformable machines and electronics will dramatically improve the functionality, versatility, and biological compatibility of future robotic systems. In contrast to conventional robots and machines, these soft robots will be composed of elastomers, gels, fluids, gas, and other non-rigid matter. We will explore emerging paradigms in soft robotics and study their design principles using classical theories in solid mechanics, thermodynamics, and electrostatics. Specific topics include artificial muscles, peristaltic robotics, soft pneumatic robotics, fluid-embedded elastomers, and particle jamming. This course will include a final project in which students may work individually or as a team. For the project, students are expected to design and simulate and/or build all or part (eg. sensors, actuators, grippers, etc.) of a soft robot.