Soft robotic tentacle

For the last two weeks I have devoted a large amount of time towards developing a soft robotic tentacle. This is a project which has been bouncing around in my head for quite sometime now and has reached the point that it must be made real. I have a lot of interest in soft robotics, as it offers up new pathways for better robot-human interaction. The long term goal I have for this project is the use of haptic exploration as a means of mapping the environment around the robot. Before I get there, I must first have a functioning prototype of the tentacle which I can embed with haptic sensors. Towards that end I have been very busy designing my own version of a soft robotic tentacle, which will have 6 points of actuation. and 2 DOF.  I recently finished the CAD files for the core molds and am in the process of printing them out.  I will then create a wax injection machine to fill the molds with wax When the wax core is fully assembled it will be placed within the final mold which will be used to make the silicone tentacle. Below are images of the current mold designs.

waxcore3 waxcore2 waxcore1

The robot will be made with silicone with a shore hardness of 00-50, initially I was going to use a much softer silicone until I contacted Mathew Borgatti. From his experience 00-30 is to soft to be functional for this type of project. Mathew Borgatti’s work in soft robotics is by far the largest inspiration for this project. His detailed documentation on his own projects is an invaluable resource and I am grateful that he has shared his progress that others might expand upon and continue pushing soft robotic research further. Other projects that are inspiring my own are The OCTOPUS Integrating Project and  the soft robotic toolkit

I look forward to sharing my progress on this project, and once I have a functioning prototype I will share my stl files so that others might be able to continue advancing the field.

 

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