1932

Abstract

As robots move beyond manufacturing applications to less predictable environments, they can increasingly benefit, as animals do, from integrating sensing and control with the passive properties provided by particular combinations and arrangements of materials and mechanisms. This realization is partly responsible for the recent proliferation of soft and bioinspired robots. Tuned materials and mechanisms can provide several kinds of benefits, including energy storage and recovery, increased physical robustness, and decreased response time to sudden events. In addition, they may offer passive open-loop behaviors and responses to external changes in loading or environmental conditions. Collectively, these properties can also increase the stability of a robot as it interacts with the environment and allow the closed-loop controller to reduce the apparent degrees of freedom subject to control. The design of appropriate materials and mechanisms remains a challenging problem; bioinspiration, genetic algorithms, and numerical shape and materials optimization are all applicable. New multimaterial fabrication processes are also steadily increasing the range and magnitude of passive properties available for intrinsically responsive robots.

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2018-05-28
2024-04-13
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