Origami-inspired Deployable Sensoriactuator Soft Robots

Research Team

Dr.  Hamid Akbarzadeh Shafaroudi (PI)
Dr. Alice Jarry (Co-PI)
Dr. Marta Cerruti
Dr. David Meger
Dr. Miranda Smitheram
Jun Cai
Yiwen Chen
Saba Hor
Allison Martin
Arian Sargazi Sadegh
Alireza Seyedkana

White graphine-oxide sheet folded in a spiral-like shape.  
Folding Prototype
Photo: Alice Jarry
Smart, inflatable, and easy-to-make robotic muscles and crawlers, which demonstrate a dramatic shape change with effective cargo transportation and locomotion capabilities, are among the astonishing feats of future technology. Drawing inspiration from the ancient art form of paper folding and the embodied intelligence found in nature, we will introduce origami-inspired sensoriactuator robots with transformable architectures that are magnetomechanically-controlled for multimodal deformation and haptic pressure and temperature sensing. The sensoriactuator robots offer remote actuation, which obviates the need for wired conventional driving units, and enable simultaneous tactile sensing. These traits make the design simple and compact, while impart intrinsic feedback control for precise actuation and adaptive reconfigurability in complex trajectories without relying on vision sensors. The robots will be made of magnetically responsive smart materials, fabricated by adding nano/micro-sized magnetizable hard-magnetic (actuation) and polarizable piezoelectric (sensing) particles into a soft matrix.The correlation between geometrical features and shape morphing characteristics of the soft robots will be studied by adopting reduced-order models and nonlinear finite element simulation.
Subsequently, actuation patterns and topological variables of the architected robots to follow a reference trajectory and to provide the desired pressure and temperature sensing functionalities will be iteratively determined by material design prototyping and machine learning algorithms. To meet the underlying challenges in design and manufacturing (e.g. retaining the functionalities of the utilized particles and architectural features, attaining locomotion speeds and accuracies comparable with existing classical hard robots, and corresponding art-science methodological challenge), the proposed research demands the expertise of a diverse team of mechanical engineers, materials scientists, chemists, designers, and computer Scientists. If successful, it will provide the high reward of design and manufacturing of first-of-a-kind active-adaptive sensoriactuator multi-purpose soft robots with integrated sensing features (hence simple and cost- effective) and untethered actuation (using safe, fast, and effective non-contact magnetic control) that can operate in confined spaces with limited energy resources (e.g. in rescue robots, non-invasive medical operations, and drug delivery systems).

Critical Practices in
Materials and Materiality