Soft robotics for natural and adaptive motion generation

Summary form only given. Soft robotics is an emerging field of research that uses soft or compliant materials and elements to overcome the limitation of traditional robotics. Traditionally, robots have been used in an industrial environment with few unknown parameters. As more and more robots are used to interact with environments that are uncertain and vulnerable to change, a technology that can easily adapt to the changing environment is needed. Soft robotics deals with this issue by using soft and compliant elements in an intelligent way. Bio-inspired robotics is the field of robotics that leads the use of this technology. Nature has many examples where it achieves high performance with a soft intelligent design. Flytrap, for example, can close its leaves quickly by using bistability of the leaves and inchworm achieves adaptive gripping with its prolegs by using the buckling effect.

These examples show that high performance can be achieved with a simple and minimum design. Also, wearable robots can be made more comfortable to wear, lightweight and small size by using soft robotics technology. Soft exoskeletons removes the frames from traditional exoskeleton robots and transmit forces to the body by directly connecting tendons, or soft actuators to the body. In this talk, I will give an overview of various soft bio-inspired robotic technologies and some of the robots that are being developed at SNU Biorobotics Laboratory. These soft robotic technologies will be helpful for robots that need to perform in rough or uncertain environments with a limited size, such as military robots and biomedical robots.

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