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IEEE RAS Student Chapter & RBE Colloquium Series: Dr. Ming Lou, WSU | Soft pneumatic robots: Designing for more dexterity


Various images of robots at Robotics Engineering WPI alt
WPI Robotics Engineering
Friday, April 23, 2021
12:00 pm to 1:00 pm




Dr. Ming Luo

Washington State University

Soft pneumatic robots: Designing for more dexterity


Friday, April 23, 2021

12:00 PM – 1:00 PM

Virtual:  (sign-in required)


Abstract: Unlike rigid robots, soft robots can passively conform to bypass obstacles, as well as distribute forces on object surfaces with high compliance, improving the safety of human-robot interactions. In theory, soft pneumatic actuators have infinite degrees of freedom. To achieve a single desired motion (extension, shortening, bending, and twisting), constraints must be added to soft actuators to prevent undesired motions. To demonstrate the versatile controllable motions of a single soft actuator, this talk introduces two recent projects. First, “AFREEs: Active Fiber Reinforced Elastomeric Enclosures” (This paper has been nominated for the Best Paper Award by the 2020 Robosoft conference): An Active Fiber Reinforced Elastomeric Enclosure (AFREE) can twist, elongate, and contract by actively changing the two fibers’ angles prior to pressurization. Unlike other soft actuators with a single deformation output, the static experiments show that the current AFREE can achieve a twist of ±60 degrees and displacements between -2 and 4 mm at 24.1 kPa with -30 degrees to 30 degrees fiber angles. Second, “Human Interface for Teleoperated Object Manipulation with a Soft Growing Robot” (This paper has been nominated for the Best Paper Award by the 2020 ICRA conference): A soft growing manipulator can extend, retract, and steer freely in 3D space while carrying a payload. This soft growing manipulator has great potential to address the current limitations in human-robot interaction field.

Bio: Dr. Ming Luo is currently assistant professor in the school of mechanical and materials engineering at Washington State University. He is the director of Mechanically-Intelligent Autonomous Robotics (MIAR) Laboratory. He was a Postdoctoral scholar in the Mechanical Engineering Department at Stanford University from 2018-2020. He received a BS degree from Tian Jin Polytechnic University ECE department in 2010, China, a MS degree from Southeastern Louisiana University Integrated Science and Technology Program in 2012, and a PhD degree from Worcester Polytechnic Institute Robotics Engineering in 2017. His academic interests include soft robotics, snake robot, origami robot, and haptics. His paper made the cover of Bioinspiration & Biomimetics - Special issue on Bioinspired Soft Robotics and was selected as one of the Bioinspiration & Biomimetics Highlights of 2015. His soft snake robot won first place in the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) 2017 soft robot speed challenge. His work has also been featured in IEEE Xplore, REUTERS, and The Verge.

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