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Soft stimuli-responsive grippers and machines with high load-to-weight ratios

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Abstract

Soft untethered grippers and machines are emerging fields of research due to their wide range of desirable properties and capabilities over traditional hard robots. Stimuli-responsive hydrogels are naturally soft and untethered (i.e., they respond to a signal from the environment); however, they are not used as grippers due to the weak mechanical properties of the hydrogels. This manuscript describes the fabrication of a general class of stimuli-responsive grippers that are soft and untethered. Each gripper is composed of a stimuli-responsive hydrogel with a hole in the middle for gripping onto objects and a layer of coating around its sides. Importantly, these grippers exert surprisingly large gripping forces relative to their weights—∼10 000, which is the highest reported in the literature for a gripper. This high load-to-weight ratio is unexpected because the stimuli-responsive hydrogel is soft, not tethered to any external supply of energy, and fabricated by simple methods. The approach is general: high load-to-weight ratios were achieved for both pH- and temperature-responsive hydrogels. As soft grippers, they gripped onto objects of different shapes and sizes easily. A class of soft untethered machines can be fabricated by assembling these soft grippers with different modular blocks of stimuli-responsive hydrogels for performing complex operations.

Graphical abstract: Soft stimuli-responsive grippers and machines with high load-to-weight ratios

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Publication details

The article was received on 27 Jul 2018, accepted on 15 Oct 2018 and first published on 15 Oct 2018


Article type: Communication
DOI: 10.1039/C8MH00888D
Citation: Mater. Horiz., 2019, Advance Article
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    Soft stimuli-responsive grippers and machines with high load-to-weight ratios

    Y. Sun, L. Chen, Y. Jiang, X. Zhang, X. Yao and S. Soh, Mater. Horiz., 2019, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/C8MH00888D

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