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This paper presents a new manufacturing and control paradigm for developing soft ionic polymer-metal composite (IPMC) actuators for soft robotics applications. First, an additive manufacturing method that exploits the fused-filament (3D printing) process is described to overcome challenges with existing methods of creating custom-shaped IPMC actuators. By working with ionomeric precursor material, the 3D-printing process enables the creation of 3D monolithic IPMC devices where ultimately integrated sensors and actuators can be achieved. Second, Bayesian optimization is used as a learning-based control approach to help mitigate complex time-varying dynamic effects in 3D-printed actuators. This approach overcomes the challenges with existing methods where complex models or continuous sensor feedback are needed. The manufacturing and control paradigm is applied to create and control the behavior of example actuators, and subsequently the actuator components are combined to create an example modular reconfigurable IPMC soft crawling robot to demonstrate feasibility. Two hypotheses related to the effectiveness of the machine-learning process are tested. Results show enhancement of actuator performance through machine learning, and the proof-of-concepts can be leveraged for continued advancement of more complex IPMC devices. Emerging challenges are also highlighted.
Artificial Intelligence and Robotics | Computer Sciences | Physical Sciences and Mathematics
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Carrico, J. D.,
Kim, K. J.,
Leang, K. K.
3D-Printing and Machine Learning Control of Soft Ionic Polymer-Metal Composite Actuators.
Scientific Reports, 9