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Soft Pneumatic Actuators and When to Use Them

Soft pneumatic actuators are actuators that use compressed air to create motion. These actuators are called “soft” because they are more flexible than traditional actuators, allowing them to be used avidly in the field of soft robotics.

You can’t talk about soft actuators without discussing soft robotics. Soft robotics is a specific subfield of robotics that deals with constructing robots from highly flexible materials. These materials are similar to those that are found in living organisms. In fact, soft robotics is inspired by the way living organisms move and adapt to their surroundings.

They are a contrast to robots that are built from rigid materials, and they allow for increased flexibility, adaptability, and improved safety when working around humans.

Soft robotics can be used in the fields of medicine and manufacturing. In medicine, soft pneumatic actuators are highly customizable and lightweight, with versatility in their actuation modes and inherent compliance. Because of this, they are considered ideal for wearable rehabilitative devices. Soft pneumatic actuators can also be used in manufacturing because of their adaptability and improved safety. Their flexible design can prevent human injury.

Another place where soft actuators and soft robotics can excel is in search and rescue. The search and rescue field inherently works in dangerous and potentially volatile conditions. This field also sometimes requires squeezing through small spaces, which soft actuators and soft robotics excel at. Built with a soft body and flexible materials, soft robots can squeeze through spaces rigid robots, or even humans, cannot fit through.

Soft pneumatic actuators are actuators that are heavily used in the field of soft robotics, where flexibility and adaptability are a must. Soft pneumatic actuators use compressed air to create movements. Because of their lightweight design and inherent compliance, they are a great alternative actuator for wearable rehabilitative devices, use in the manufacturing field, and use in search and rescue robots.

In some applications, the compliant characteristic of soft pneumatic actuators is desired but the pneumatic system is not available. Artimus Robotics offers a fully electric alternative with the same soft compliant characteristics as a soft pneumatic actuator.

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