Soft Worm Robot with Artificial Skin


The goal of this project is to develop soft worm-like robots that are provided with a artificial skin. These robots can access confined spaces and sense their environment thanks to skin contact.

Soft worm
(a) Illustration of peristaltic motion followed by real worms. (b) Our first prototype displaying the soft axial actuator and two soft radial actuators. (c) A recent design that incorporates artificial skin on the radial actuators.

Soft lithography is used for producing various actuators and sensors. The following figure displays the fabrication process.

Soft worm fabrication
Fabrication process. 3D printed molds are extensively used during fabrication. a) Radial actuators are first produced by joining two halves of a hollow disc. b) Similar process is used for producing the radial actuator. O-rings are used for limiting the radial expansion of this actuator. c) Three pneumatic lines are inserted for commanding the inflation of front, middle and rear actuator. d) a soft sensor is produced with channels of liquid conductive material. Groves are introduced to increase the sensor sensitivity to contact and enable recognition of propioceptive inflation state versus external contact. 



This project is in collaboration with the research group of Prof. Nestor Perez-Arancibia at USC

At Universidad de Chile:

Juan Cristóbal Zagal, Joakin Ugalde.


jczagal at