Scientists create a design tool that facilitates the manufacture of soft pneumatic actuators

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cientificos crean una herramienta de diseno que facilita la fabricacion de actuadores neumaticos blandos.jpg
cientificos crean una herramienta de diseno que facilita la fabricacion de actuadores neumaticos blandos.jpg

The soft pneumatic actuators are those framed within soft actuators, which are characterized by having an elastomer composed inside by a set of channels and chambers.

This type of actuator performs its function by injection of compressed air in the channels in order to generate motion, which can then be controlled by manipulating the shape of the cameras.

Thanks to this mechanism, soft pneumatic actuators have been able to be integrated into wearable Assistive Devices, as well as in the development of rehabilitation technologies and in the area of ​​robotics.

However, despite the benefits that the implementation of this type of actuators may entail, their manufacture and design need to be carried out manually, which implies a considerable number of trial and error attempts to obtain the final product.

Thinking about this, a team of scientists from the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) at MIT took the initiative to create a scalable method that would make it possible to design and manufacture soft pneumatic actuators in a digital environment, which they named PneuAct.

This platform supports its operation in a machine weaving process that performs its functions autonomously.

However, human intervention is required to configure design pattern that must replicate the stitches when making the fabric, as well as adjust the sensors that will mark the movement of the actuator.

It is worth mentioning that the knitting machine used to manufacture the textile piece can be attached to a rubber silicone tubewhich can be found in the market at an affordable price.

Based on the principle of soft pneumatic actuators, the team built some prototypes, including a assistance glove that when put into operation complements the movement exerted by the muscles of the fingers, thus helping to reduce the effort made by them.

These types of gloves could be useful for people who have suffered a serious injury in the hand and the mobility of your fingers is noticeably reduced.

Another use that soft pneumatic actuators could have could be in the construction of an exoskeletonthat is, a portable robotic unit with actions directed by a computer.

An example of this is A sleeve built by the researchers that assists the user by bending some parts of the body such as the elbow or the knee.

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Brian Adam
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