Research Topic

Design, Manufacturing, Characterization, and Control of Soft Structures for Practical Applications

About this Research Topic

New materials and structures are emerging as a new class of smart actuators for soft robots. For example, twisted and coiled polymer (TCP) muscles show significant promise for various biomimetic morphing structures. They can be embedded in soft elastomeric substrate, attain complex shapes and hence mimic the flexible appendages of animals. Several soft robots have been made using pneumatic networks (Pneu-Nets) with compressed gas as a medium and their inherent compliance can enable embodied intelligence. Smart materials such as shape memory alloy, dielectric elastomers, Ionic polymer-metal composites, conducting polymers and other composites have been considered for soft robotics due to their lack of rigid supply systems such as motors, pumps and valves and, in some case, capacity for muscle-like performance. However, modeling and control of these systems have not been extensively investigated, which may be due to non-linear characteristics such as viscoelasticity and hysteresis that are inherent to many types of soft robotic actuators. Machine learning and model-free approaches are emerging as one of the tools for modeling and control of these soft machines. Furthermore, manufacturing soft robots with embedded actuators, sensors, and local computation has been a challenge. Additive manufacturing or 3D printing is becoming one of the solutions to realize soft robots for practical applications. Despite the significant efforts that have been made in the soft robotic field, and the promising results that have been presented, there has been no single machine or system that can fabricate the entire soft robot with automated systems including its battery power. There are numerous research areas under the soft robotics topic. This Frontiers Research Topic will present high quality publications that describe the latest advances of actuators for soft robotics, advanced manufacturing of soft robots, and unique applications of soft robots. We are interested in short summary papers, research articles, and review articles within the following categories.
• Manufacturing of soft structures and robots
• Practical applications of soft robots such as field applications-
biomimetic robots, grippers
• Model-free approaches for controlling soft robots
• Physics-based modeling of soft actuators
• Finite element based modeling of soft robots
• Deep learning for soft robots
• New approaches/methods that are easy to use and accurate
• Full characterization of soft actuators for soft robots
• Elegant design of soft robots with embedded actuators, sensors,
and controllers
• Bioinspired underwater soft robots
• Smart materials and structures for soft robotics
• Characterization techniques of soft actuators
• 3D‑printing functionally graded structures for soft robots
• Novel application of soft robots for healthcare, and
entertainment
• Untethered soft actuation technologies


Keywords: Soft Actuators, Physics Based, Biomimetic, Bioinspired, Modeling and Simulation, Stiffness, Novel Application, Sensing, Actuation, Powering, Machine Learning


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

New materials and structures are emerging as a new class of smart actuators for soft robots. For example, twisted and coiled polymer (TCP) muscles show significant promise for various biomimetic morphing structures. They can be embedded in soft elastomeric substrate, attain complex shapes and hence mimic the flexible appendages of animals. Several soft robots have been made using pneumatic networks (Pneu-Nets) with compressed gas as a medium and their inherent compliance can enable embodied intelligence. Smart materials such as shape memory alloy, dielectric elastomers, Ionic polymer-metal composites, conducting polymers and other composites have been considered for soft robotics due to their lack of rigid supply systems such as motors, pumps and valves and, in some case, capacity for muscle-like performance. However, modeling and control of these systems have not been extensively investigated, which may be due to non-linear characteristics such as viscoelasticity and hysteresis that are inherent to many types of soft robotic actuators. Machine learning and model-free approaches are emerging as one of the tools for modeling and control of these soft machines. Furthermore, manufacturing soft robots with embedded actuators, sensors, and local computation has been a challenge. Additive manufacturing or 3D printing is becoming one of the solutions to realize soft robots for practical applications. Despite the significant efforts that have been made in the soft robotic field, and the promising results that have been presented, there has been no single machine or system that can fabricate the entire soft robot with automated systems including its battery power. There are numerous research areas under the soft robotics topic. This Frontiers Research Topic will present high quality publications that describe the latest advances of actuators for soft robotics, advanced manufacturing of soft robots, and unique applications of soft robots. We are interested in short summary papers, research articles, and review articles within the following categories.
• Manufacturing of soft structures and robots
• Practical applications of soft robots such as field applications-
biomimetic robots, grippers
• Model-free approaches for controlling soft robots
• Physics-based modeling of soft actuators
• Finite element based modeling of soft robots
• Deep learning for soft robots
• New approaches/methods that are easy to use and accurate
• Full characterization of soft actuators for soft robots
• Elegant design of soft robots with embedded actuators, sensors,
and controllers
• Bioinspired underwater soft robots
• Smart materials and structures for soft robotics
• Characterization techniques of soft actuators
• 3D‑printing functionally graded structures for soft robots
• Novel application of soft robots for healthcare, and
entertainment
• Untethered soft actuation technologies


Keywords: Soft Actuators, Physics Based, Biomimetic, Bioinspired, Modeling and Simulation, Stiffness, Novel Application, Sensing, Actuation, Powering, Machine Learning


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

12 June 2020 Abstract
16 October 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

12 June 2020 Abstract
16 October 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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