Abstract

Success of emerging field of soft robotics relies on the development of efficient soft actuators. Most of these actuators suffers from disadvantages such as limited blocking force, lifetime, high actuation voltage, and slow response time. Swimming robots in particular utilizes single or multiple soft actuators to mimic the dynamic of a fish during motion. In this study we used 3D printing to fabricate soft electromagnetic actuators based swimming robot. The mechanism consists of soft actuator legs, compliant paddle and floatation. We designed a hybrid propulsion mechanism by using double soft leg actuators as caudal fins and side paddles as pectoral fins. This increases the thrust and efficiency to overcome the water drag as well as providing stability. We 3D printed the soft actuator using thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) filament to reduce the manufacturing cost as well as to simplify the process. The main body is also 3D printed using polylactic acid (PLA). The infill percentage of the soft body is adjusted to increase the bending performance without yielding under actuation. The prototype of the swimming robot was tested in water. The body velocity of the robot is measured as 0.106 BL/s. Motion analysis was made MSC Adams by simulating the deformation of flexible beams.

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