Week 10: Applications and Implications

My final project is going to be a fun, wearable soft robotic tentacle.

What will it do?

It will move via expansion and contraction in response to sensors attached to the wearer.

Who's done what beforehand?

I have found very little prior research on this particular method of actuating soft robots. I have only found these two papers, which are by the same team:

There has been a lot of other work with specifically dielectric elastomers, which are somewhat similar in that they're not pump-powered; however, I believe that other forms of dielectric elastomers are not suitable for my project, as their form (needing electrodes on both ends) and high-voltage requirement would be impractical. I'd still be interested in seeing if a negative ion generator could sub in as a source of voltage; however, I'm not sure what would serve as the second electrode.

What will you design?

I will design the mold for casting the tentacle in, a PCB for driving the nichrome wire, and a case for containing the PCB and the battery.

What materials and components will be used?


Where will they come from?


How much will they cost?

Part Component Price Source
Mold: Machinable wax, or possibly 3D printed PLA 10 Aalto Fab Lab
Tentacle body: Platinum cure Silicone: Ecoflex 00-50 (Smooth-On, PA, USA) 44 https://www.kaupo.de/shop/en/SILICONE-RUBBER-Platinum-Cure/ECOFLEX-SERIES/Ecoflex-00-30/
Ethanol (≥ 99.5% purity) Unknown Aalto Biofilea Lab
Ni-chrome resistive wire (0.25 mm diamter) 10 https://www.amazon.com/IIVVERR-Nichrome-0-25mm-Heater-calentador/dp/B07ZCXN29Q/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=nichrome+wire+.25&qid=1587148773&s=electronics&sr=1-2-catcorr
PCB: Microcontroller - possibly an ATtiny45, tbd 2 https://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/microchip-technology/ATTINY45-20SU/ATTINY45-20SU-ND/735466
FR-1 5 Aalto Fab Lab
Battery: Li-po battery (size tbd) 30 internet, price is very dependent on capacity
Sensor: Pressure-sensitive resistive sensor (tbd) OR 5 internet, price depends on sensor
Temperature sensor (tbd) OR 5 internet, price depends on sensor
Some other fun sensor, depends on how the motion turns out 5 internet, price depends on sensor
Case: Fabric OR 15 Eurokangas
PLA OR 5 Aalto Fab Lab
Acrylic 10 Aalto Fab Lab

Sources: Fab-lab inventory, biofilia lab, Eurokangas, Digi-Key

What parts and systems will be made?

Every 'part' listed above.

What processes will be used?

CNC milling, 3D printing (potentially), mold making and casting, 2D design, embedded programming, electronic design.

What questions need to be answered?

How will it be evaluated?