3D printing of resilient biogels for omnidirectional and exteroceptive soft actuators
Sprache des Titels:
Soft robotics greatly benefits from nature as a source of inspiration, introducing innate means of safe interaction between robotic appliances and living organisms. In contrast, the materials involved are often nonbiodegradable or stem from nonrenewable resources, contributing to an ever-growing environmental footprint. Furthermore, conventional manufacturing methods, such as mold casting, are not suitable for replicating or imitating the complexity of nature?s creations. Consequently, the inclusion of sustainability concepts alongside the development of new fabrication procedures is required. We report a customized 3D-printing process based on fused deposition modeling, printing a fully biodegradable gelatin-based hydrogel (biogel) ink into dimensionally stable, complex objects. This process enables fast and cost-effective prototyping of resilient, soft robotic applications from gels that stretch to six times their original length, as well as an accessible recycling procedure with zero waste. We present printed pneumatic actuators performing omnidirectional movement at fast response times (less than a second), featuring integrated 3D-printed stretchable waveguides, capable of both proprio- and exteroception. These soft devices are endowed with dynamic real-time control capable of automated search-and-wipe routines to detect and remove obstacles. They can be reprinted several times or disposed of hazard-free at the end of their lifetime, potentially unlocking a sustainable future for soft robotics.
Sprache der Kurzfassung:
American Association for the Advancement of Science