FABRICATION OF SOFT ROBOTIC ACTUATORS BY USING INJECTION MOLDING TECHNOLOGY
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Compared with conventional rigid robots, soft robots composed of intrinsically soft materials are featured with compliance independent of their shapes, good adaptability under different environments, and safer interaction with human. High fabrication cost of actuators incurred by convention fabrication methods is one of the main challenges to commercialize soft robots. To reduce the fabrication cost of actuators, injection molding is adopted. Injection molded pneumatic bending actuators composed of elastomer bladder wrapped with patterned strain-limiting sleeve can achieve bending motion. The highest fingertip forces generated by nylon mesh sleeve actuators and hybrid fabric sleeve actuators are 6.9 N and 6.1 N respectively. A prosthetic hand composed of hybrid fabric actuators can hold and lift items. The hand is capable of handling delicate items without causing damages. A modified two-shot injection molding procedure can be a potential fabrication method of PneuNets actuators.