Design and fabrication of a pneumatic soft robotic gripper for delicate surgical manipulation
The recent developments of soft robots have inspired a variety of applications that require compliance for safety and softness for biomimetics. With such prevalence and advantages of soft robots, researchers are diverting their interests toward applications like micromanipulation of biological tissue. However, the progress has been thwarted by the difficulty in producing soft robots in miniature scale. In this paper, we present a new kind of microscale soft pneumatic actuators (SPA) made from streamlined and standardized fabrication procedure with customizable bending modalities inspired by shape engineering. Preliminary mathematical models are given to interpret width-based shape engineering for customization and to compare the bending angle and radius of curvature measured from the characterization experiments. The fabricated SPA was tested on the sciatic nerve of a rat in order to show its future potentials in biomedical field. Ultimately, this paper will contribute to the diversification of SPA fabrication and customization, as well as biomedical applications that demand smaller dimensions and higher precision.