Machine-knitted seamless pneumatic actuators for soft robotics: Design, fabrication, and characterization

Hend M. Elmoughni, Ayse Feyza Yilmaz, Kadir Ozlem, Fidan Khalilbayli, Leonardo Cappello, Asli Tuncay Atalay, Gökhan Ince, Ozgur Atalay*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Computerized machine knitting offers an attractive fabrication technology for incorporating wearable assistive devices into garments. In this work, we utilized, for the first time, whole-garment knitting techniques to manufacture a seamless fully knitted pneumatic bending actuator, which represents an advancement to existing cut-and-sew manufacturing techniques. Various machine knitting parameters were investigated to create anisotropic actuator structures, which exhibited a range of bending and extension motions when pressurized with air. The functionality of the actuator was demonstrated through integration into an assistive glove for hand grip action. The achieved curvature range when pressurizing the actuators up to 150 kPa was sufficient to grasp objects down to 3 cm in diameter and up to 125 g in weight. This manufacturing technique is rapid and scalable, paving the way for mass-production of customizable soft robotics wearables.

Original languageEnglish
Article number94
JournalActuators
Volume10
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

Funding

Funding: The authors disclose the receipt of the following financial support for research and authorship. This work was funded by EU Marie Skłodowska Curie IF Project “Textile based Soft Sensing Actuators for Soft Robotic Applications—TexRobots (Grant no: 842786)”. The authors disclose the receipt of the following financial support for research and author-ship. This work was funded by EU Marie Sk?odowska Curie IF Project ?Textile based Soft Sensing Actuators for Soft Robotic Applications?TexRobots (Grant no: 842786)?.

FundersFunder number
EU Marie Skłodowska Curie IF Project “Textile based Soft Sensing Actuators for Soft Robotic Applications—TexRobots
Horizon 2020 Framework Programme842786
European Commission

    Keywords

    • Assistive devices
    • Knitted actuators
    • Soft robotics
    • Wearables

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