Automated Fiber Embedding
Organic and synthetic fibers present a wide range of mechanical and functional properties which are useful in fabricating sensors, actuators, and tailoring structural properties in soft robotic applications. Despite the advantages of using fibers in soft robotics, current manual approaches to embed fibers in soft materials restrict many practical applications.
In this project we are developing tension based methodologies for automated fiber embedding in 2D patterns. The current approach uses a bench top 3D printer, direct extrusion of matrix materials into custom designed molds, customized weaving templates, and a fiber dispensing tool head. Fibers can be embedded at specific depths, orientations, and weave densities. This approach enables tailoring of mechanical properties as well as functionalization for various soft robotics applications.