A main challenge in the additive manufacturing (AM) field is the possibility to create structures with embedded actuators and sensors: addressing this requirement would lead to a reduction of manual assembly tasks and product cost, pushing AM technologies into a new dimension for the fabrication of assembly-free smart objects. The main novelty of the present paper is the one shot fabrication of a 3D printed soft finger with an embedded shape memory alloy (SMA) actuator and two different 3D printed sensors (strain gauge and capacitive force sensor). 3D printed structures, fabricated with the proposed approach, can be immediately activated after their removal from the build plate, providing real-time feedback because of the embedded sensing units. Three different materials from two nozzles were extruded to fabricate the passive elements and sensing units of the proposed bioinspired robotic finger and a custom-made Cartesian pick and place robot (CPPR) was employed to integrate the SMA spring actuator into the 3D printed robotic finger during the fabrication processes. Another novelty of the present paper is the direct integration of SMA actuators during the 3D printing process. The low melting thermoplastic polycaprolactone (PCL) was extruded: its printing temperature of 70 °C is lower than the SMA austenitic start temperature, preventing the SMA activation during the manufacturing process. Two different sensors based on the piezoresistive principle and capacitive principle were studied, 3D printed and characterized, showing respectively a sensitivity ratio of change in resistance to finger bending angle to be 674.8 Ω∘Angle and a capacitance to force ratio of 0.53pFN . The proposed manufacturing approach paves the way for significant advancement of AM technologies in the field of smart structures with embedded actuators to provide real-time feedback, offering several advantages, especially in the soft robotics domain.

One-shot additive manufacturing of robotic finger with embedded sensing and actuation

Cianchetti M.;
2023-01-01

Abstract

A main challenge in the additive manufacturing (AM) field is the possibility to create structures with embedded actuators and sensors: addressing this requirement would lead to a reduction of manual assembly tasks and product cost, pushing AM technologies into a new dimension for the fabrication of assembly-free smart objects. The main novelty of the present paper is the one shot fabrication of a 3D printed soft finger with an embedded shape memory alloy (SMA) actuator and two different 3D printed sensors (strain gauge and capacitive force sensor). 3D printed structures, fabricated with the proposed approach, can be immediately activated after their removal from the build plate, providing real-time feedback because of the embedded sensing units. Three different materials from two nozzles were extruded to fabricate the passive elements and sensing units of the proposed bioinspired robotic finger and a custom-made Cartesian pick and place robot (CPPR) was employed to integrate the SMA spring actuator into the 3D printed robotic finger during the fabrication processes. Another novelty of the present paper is the direct integration of SMA actuators during the 3D printing process. The low melting thermoplastic polycaprolactone (PCL) was extruded: its printing temperature of 70 °C is lower than the SMA austenitic start temperature, preventing the SMA activation during the manufacturing process. Two different sensors based on the piezoresistive principle and capacitive principle were studied, 3D printed and characterized, showing respectively a sensitivity ratio of change in resistance to finger bending angle to be 674.8 Ω∘Angle and a capacitance to force ratio of 0.53pFN . The proposed manufacturing approach paves the way for significant advancement of AM technologies in the field of smart structures with embedded actuators to provide real-time feedback, offering several advantages, especially in the soft robotics domain.
2023
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11382/552852
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