Project Title

Fabrication of biomimetic swimming soft-robot

Academic department under which the project should be listed

Mechanical Engineering

Faculty Sponsor Name

Dal Hyung Kim

no human subjects

Project Type

Event

Abstract (300 words maximum)

There have been few studies on the use of soft-bodied small-scale robots as there are many limitations in the locomotion of the devices. Due to the difficulty of locomotion at such a small scale, these robots are manufactured with magnetic particles and soft polymer without the use of conventional motors and sensors and are controlled entirely by electromagnets. The robot is controlled with the use of the magnetic fields generated by the 3D Helmholtz configuration. Due to the spatial limitation of the experimental set-up, approximated Helmholtz configuration is normally used, which generates non-uniform magnetic fields across the chamber. The mapping of the magnetic fields at any location with any variation of currents in the coil sets is of utmost importance in order to ensure precise control of the robot.

In this study, we fabricate a small-scale soft-robot using the 3D printer and demonstrate its locomotion. In the future, the small-scale swimming soft-robot will serve as a controllable cue for animal experiments to collect reliable and robust data autonomously. Our developed robot and control methods will play an essential role in measuring the interaction between the live subject and inorganic robot, which will help us to understand interactive behaviors in animals. There are also plans in the future to act as a counterpart to real and living larval zebrafish with an addition of a mounted camera in order to record our findings.

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Fabrication of biomimetic swimming soft-robot

There have been few studies on the use of soft-bodied small-scale robots as there are many limitations in the locomotion of the devices. Due to the difficulty of locomotion at such a small scale, these robots are manufactured with magnetic particles and soft polymer without the use of conventional motors and sensors and are controlled entirely by electromagnets. The robot is controlled with the use of the magnetic fields generated by the 3D Helmholtz configuration. Due to the spatial limitation of the experimental set-up, approximated Helmholtz configuration is normally used, which generates non-uniform magnetic fields across the chamber. The mapping of the magnetic fields at any location with any variation of currents in the coil sets is of utmost importance in order to ensure precise control of the robot.

In this study, we fabricate a small-scale soft-robot using the 3D printer and demonstrate its locomotion. In the future, the small-scale swimming soft-robot will serve as a controllable cue for animal experiments to collect reliable and robust data autonomously. Our developed robot and control methods will play an essential role in measuring the interaction between the live subject and inorganic robot, which will help us to understand interactive behaviors in animals. There are also plans in the future to act as a counterpart to real and living larval zebrafish with an addition of a mounted camera in order to record our findings.