A Wireless Compact Control Unit (WiCCU) for Untethered Pneumatic Soft Robots

Luigi Manfredi (Lead / Corresponding author), Alfred Cuschieri

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

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Abstract

The performance of a soft pneumatic robot (SPR) relies on the synergy between the mechanical design and the control unit that implements a closed-loop control between sensors and actuators. Most controllers are designed by using off-the-shelf components. Although commercial parts present high precision and reliability, they are heavy and bulky, limiting the realisation and design of untethered robots. The present study describes a wireless pneumatic control unit of a compact and light design that can control up to 3 pneumatic chambers. The unit includes pressure sensors and high precision miniaturised proportional valves. To simplify both the electrical cabling and the air tubes connections, a compact manifold is used to connect valves and pressure sensors. The control unit uses a Bluetooth RS232 serial module for a wireless communication. The mechatronic design is reported describing the electronic hardware, the manifold solution, and the firmware implementation. Experiments report i) the control of a linear pneumatic actuator (LPA), and ii) a simultaneous activation of 3 LPAs connected to a base providing 3 degrees of freedom (DOFs).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2019 2nd IEEE International Conference on Soft Robotics (RoboSoft)
PublisherIEEE
Pages31-36
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9781538692608, 9781538692592
ISBN (Print)9781538692615
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 27 May 2019
Event2019 2nd IEEE International Conference on Soft Robotics: RoboSoft - Seoul, Korea, Republic of
Duration: 14 Apr 201918 Apr 2019
Conference number: 2
https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpl/mostRecentIssue.jsp?punumber=8716494

Publication series

NameRoboSoft 2019 - 2019 IEEE International Conference on Soft Robotics

Conference

Conference2019 2nd IEEE International Conference on Soft Robotics
CountryKorea, Republic of
CitySeoul
Period14/04/1918/04/19
Internet address

Fingerprint

Pneumatics
Robots
Pressure sensors
Pneumatic control
Pneumatic actuators
Linear actuators
Firmware
Mechatronics
Bluetooth
Computer hardware
Actuators
Chemical activation
Controllers
Communication
Sensors
Air
Experiments

Keywords

  • Valves
  • Manifolds
  • Pressure sensors
  • Robots
  • Pneumatic systems
  • Bluetooth
  • Wireless communication

Cite this

Manfredi, L., & Cuschieri, A. (2019). A Wireless Compact Control Unit (WiCCU) for Untethered Pneumatic Soft Robots. In 2019 2nd IEEE International Conference on Soft Robotics (RoboSoft) (pp. 31-36). [8722788] (RoboSoft 2019 - 2019 IEEE International Conference on Soft Robotics). IEEE. https://doi.org/10.1109/ROBOSOFT.2019.8722788
Manfredi, Luigi ; Cuschieri, Alfred. / A Wireless Compact Control Unit (WiCCU) for Untethered Pneumatic Soft Robots. 2019 2nd IEEE International Conference on Soft Robotics (RoboSoft). IEEE, 2019. pp. 31-36 (RoboSoft 2019 - 2019 IEEE International Conference on Soft Robotics).
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abstract = "The performance of a soft pneumatic robot (SPR) relies on the synergy between the mechanical design and the control unit that implements a closed-loop control between sensors and actuators. Most controllers are designed by using off-the-shelf components. Although commercial parts present high precision and reliability, they are heavy and bulky, limiting the realisation and design of untethered robots. The present study describes a wireless pneumatic control unit of a compact and light design that can control up to 3 pneumatic chambers. The unit includes pressure sensors and high precision miniaturised proportional valves. To simplify both the electrical cabling and the air tubes connections, a compact manifold is used to connect valves and pressure sensors. The control unit uses a Bluetooth RS232 serial module for a wireless communication. The mechatronic design is reported describing the electronic hardware, the manifold solution, and the firmware implementation. Experiments report i) the control of a linear pneumatic actuator (LPA), and ii) a simultaneous activation of 3 LPAs connected to a base providing 3 degrees of freedom (DOFs).",
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Manfredi, L & Cuschieri, A 2019, A Wireless Compact Control Unit (WiCCU) for Untethered Pneumatic Soft Robots. in 2019 2nd IEEE International Conference on Soft Robotics (RoboSoft)., 8722788, RoboSoft 2019 - 2019 IEEE International Conference on Soft Robotics, IEEE, pp. 31-36, 2019 2nd IEEE International Conference on Soft Robotics, Seoul, Korea, Republic of, 14/04/19. https://doi.org/10.1109/ROBOSOFT.2019.8722788

A Wireless Compact Control Unit (WiCCU) for Untethered Pneumatic Soft Robots. / Manfredi, Luigi (Lead / Corresponding author); Cuschieri, Alfred.

2019 2nd IEEE International Conference on Soft Robotics (RoboSoft). IEEE, 2019. p. 31-36 8722788 (RoboSoft 2019 - 2019 IEEE International Conference on Soft Robotics).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

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Manfredi L, Cuschieri A. A Wireless Compact Control Unit (WiCCU) for Untethered Pneumatic Soft Robots. In 2019 2nd IEEE International Conference on Soft Robotics (RoboSoft). IEEE. 2019. p. 31-36. 8722788. (RoboSoft 2019 - 2019 IEEE International Conference on Soft Robotics). https://doi.org/10.1109/ROBOSOFT.2019.8722788