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Title:Embeddable micro pinch valve for localized pressure control on modular pneumatic soft robotic arm
Author(s):Zhou, Long
Advisor(s):Zhang, Yang
Contributor(s):Di Fulvio, Angela
Department / Program:Nuclear, Plasma, & Rad Engr
Discipline:Nuclear, Plasma, Radiolgc Engr
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree:M.S.
Genre:Thesis
Subject(s):Soft Robot
Valve
Modular
Abstract:The advantages of soft robots include being able to manipulate delicate objects, adaptive to uncertain and dynamic task-environments and interacting with human in an intrinsically friendly manner. These merits make them potentially useful in the nuclear industry, where robots have to handle different situations involving radiation. Despite numerous designs for actuators, most soft robots nowadays are still driven by external valves and energy supplies. This gives rise to the problem that every actuator on the robot has to be connected by a tube to the outside, which hinders the agility and limits the scalability of the robot. Localizing the fluid control can reduce the number of tubes connecting to soft robots, especially for those with many degrees of freedom (DoFs). It also enables modular design, which allows the robots to be reconfigured for different tasks. To achieve localized control with minimal additional weight and size, we designed the embeddable micro pinch valve (EMPV) that is light (< 2.5 g) and small (< 2 cm3) enough to be built into a typical soft pneumatic actuator. An EMPV manipulates the flow going into (or out from) the actuator by externally squeezing the channel that connects the actuator to the pressure source. This reduces the need of sealing components because the integrity of the flow channels is preserved. Combining two EMPVs and a soft pneumatic actuator, we designed a hybrid actuator that is controlled by electric signals while powered by pneumatic force. Then, a prototype wrist module with three degrees of freedom is made using three hybrid actuators. A circuit locally controls the EMPVs on the wrist and communicates with the central controller via Isomorphic Synchronous Transmit-Receive (ISTR) protocol which is specially designed for modular robots. Connecting several identical copies of the wrist in series, we built up a modular soft robotic arm. These prototypes aim to demonstrate that, with EMPVs, all the actuators on a pneumatic soft robot can be powered by a set of arterial pressure supplies, thus more actuators can be built into a soft robot without adding cumbersome tubes, making the soft robot more dexterous and biomimetic.
Issue Date:2018-12-11
Type:Thesis
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/2142/102955
Rights Information:Copyright 2018 Long Zhou
Date Available in IDEALS:2019-02-08
Date Deposited:2018-12


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