Print Your Own Robot: Part 5 29c3

I’ve finally gathered my wits after a whirlwind tour of Europe, starting at CCC, giving some talks and connecting up with potential collaborators, to Berlin to meet hackers I hadn’t seen in years, to Brussels to play with some material science experiments in impact resisting plastics. While at CCC I gave three talks, two lightning talks on digital fabrication and the strange world of news advertisement, and a 15 minute talk on the methodology and philosophy behind my soft robots. I’ll be uploading the short talks sometime soon, but for now please see my soft robots lecture after the jump.

2 thoughts on “Print Your Own Robot: Part 5 29c3

  1. Hi Matt-
    Your robot tenticle is extremely cool. We were doing similar with Duke University in the early 80’s (here is a link to some images: ). These devices are highly compliant, which makes them perfect for certain kinds of manipulation. I had a hand made out of these with three fingers. It was in turn attached to a Puma 560 industrial robot and I controlled it with a Dataglove (terrible device). Since the hand was so compliant, it was relatively easy to pick up an incredible range of shapes including boxes, cans, and even metal plates.
    The idea of using a 3D printer to create these is right on the mark.

    One of the very interesting things you can do with this kind of system is modify the compliance with the pressure differentials. This allows you to modify stiffness which is essential for any kind of fine manipulation.

    1. David,
      Thanks for the kind words. It’s been a pretty rewarding process, being able to mock up quick iterations in CAD and print out all the molding to get a pretty accurate replica of the idea in just days. I suppose the next part of the process is to find funding and a real world set of problems to pit it against.

      By changing the stiffness with pressure differentials, do you mean having two bladders on opposing sides of the articulating joint, and changing the difference between their pressures to control the stiffness at the same time as the amount of flex? It’s a really intriguing idea. I’ve been thinking about ways to limit the amount of stretch in the materials I’m using, so I could increase pressure to increase stiffness without ending up with a spherical tentacle balloon at the end of it.

      Also, I can’t find the URL for the pics you mentioned. Would you mind replying with it? I’m eager to see what you were working on.

      Thanks so much for getting in touch. I’m really interested in hearing from folks who have played with this kind of technology before.

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