Session 6 Soft Robotics

Thursday, 12.11.2020, 11:00-13:20 o'clock


Keynote by Prof. Raatz: Soft Material Robotic Systems

11:00-11:40 o'clock

Major robot manufacturers and trend scouts have been proclaiming a revolution in the role of robotics in our every lives. However, as the bars behind which industrial robots have been looming for long are being obliterated, images that may well originate in science fiction movies cross one’s mind. Only recently have robotics researchers begun to initiate a paradigm shift in the design of robotic systems, which may one day cause a change of mindset and provoke pictures of more human-friendly robots that harmlessly interact with us.

With a deeper understanding of how soft-bodied animals achieve highly sophisticated and flexible behaviors through softness, such as the remarkable manual grasping ability exhibited by the octopus vulgaris, researchers are now translating their insights into the design of robotic systems that are made mainly of soft materials. This paradigm shift from stiff to soft is not limited to the need for novel approaches for the mechanical design of these robotic systems; it also presents challenges for the design of smart materials and components as well as for modeling and control.

Anja Winkler: Soft robotic structures by smart encapsulation of electronic devices

11:40-12:00 o'clock

(Paper ID: 1158) Video

Due to the digitalization and advanced automation of industrial processes, the interaction of robotic systems with humans is a very important issue. Soft robotics are therefore becoming increasingly important, as soft interfaces could prevent dangerous injuries to people. The current paper presents a concept for a soft robotic system that focusses on an organ-like encapsulation in robotic systems and allows the utilization of rigid parts in the context of soft robotics.

The current contribution shows initial investigations about the concept of encapsulated batteries to mimic mitochondria: In biological cells, there are types of organelles that provide the power to the other organs/organelles. In the proposed soft robot, multiple batteries/accumulators are individually encapsulated in poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PNiPAAm) hydrogel to perform this task. Due to the thermo-responsivity of the PNiPAAm gel, a swelling or a deswelling of the active encapsulation is obtained by changing the local temperature. In the current work, we apply the Temperature-Expansion-Model to represent this active behavior. Numerical simulations by applying the Finite Element method are performed in order to show the features of the investigated system.

The paper presents investigations for the design and simulation of tailored active material encapsulations that can be intrinsically activated from inside the organism. Thus, a robot is obtained that – due to its softness – can be used in interaction with humans. At the same time, it can react to inner stimuli (global decisions from microcontrollers) or outer stimuli (local influences from the environment) to adapt its properties to occurring challenges.

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Ali Ibrahim: Near Sensors Computation based on Embedded Machine Learning for Electronic Skin

12:00-12:20 o'clock

(Paper ID: 1181)

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Jhohan Chavez Vega: Influence of Elastomeric Tensioned Members on the Characteristics of Compliant Tensegrity Structures in Soft Robotic Applications

12:20-12:40 o'clock

(Paper ID: 1170)

The use of mechanically prestressed compliant structures in soft robotics is a recently discussed topic. Tensegrity structures, consisting of a set of rigid disconnected compressed members connected to a continuous net of prestressed elastic tensioned members build one specific class of these structures. Robots based on these structures have manifold shape changing abilities and can adapt their mechanical properties reversibly by changing of their prestress state according to specific tasks. In the paper selected aspects on the potential use of elastomer materials in these structures are discussed with the help of theoretical analysis.

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Frederik Schmatz: Quality optimization of mechanical joining processes by the use of human-robot collaboration  

12:40-13:00 o'clock

(Paper ID: 1116)

This paper presents a new form of setting process monitoring for mechanical joining implemented into a human-robot collaboration. The used lightweight robot can be manipulated in an intuitive way. We developed an easy to use hand guiding opportunity for cobots from Universal Robots by providing an URCap. This way such a cobot can be manipulated quickly and precisely with ease by any operator new to the system within minutes. It enables an economic use of hand guiding with an additional hand guiding device. With this device the teach pendant is not needed during the regular operations which simplifies the usage of the cobot. The integrated sensors (primarily a force-torque sensor) collect data, which gives information about the setting process. Several errors (e.g. no rivet head support, angle offset, gap between the sheets) were carried out on a test setup while recording the data for evaluation. The resulting force/torque-time graphs give indication of the occurring error. As a result the classified error can be immediately displayed to the operator for recognizing the need for reworking. In combination with an error avoidance algorithm the overall quality of the product can be sustainably improved.

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Sotiris Makris: Design of Human Robot Collaboration workstations – Two automotive case studies

13:00-13:20 o'clock

(Paper ID: 1167)

Human Robot Collaboration assembly cells benefit the capabilities and skills of both industrial robots and humans, although fenceless coexistence leads to issues related to safety and human-system interaction. A series of methods for hybrid workstation design focusing on safe yet efficient Human Robot Collaboration is presented, where various layout configurations are illustrated and evaluated aiming industrial implementation. Two distinct automotive use cases, with different requirements and challenges, are used as reference for highlighting particularities on lightweight and high-payload robots, in addition to small and large size product assemblies.

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