Sara Centeno and Dr. Jason Isaacs
Soft robotics has grown as a field alongside innovations in materials, electronics, design, and manufacturing. The potential uses of soft robots extend but are certainly not limited to the medical field, exploration, and environments where humans and robots work concurrently. The large degrees of freedom in soft robots or soft components afford broader utility than traditional robots, which can be limited by their rigidity. These developments have permitted ingenious uses and novel soft robot designs, but challenges in modeling nonlinear behavior, control theory, and physical restraints such as tethers and bulky external electronics remain. The creation of a soft robot design relies on an intuition of the physics and material properties rather than definitive design principles and rules. This research reviews literature of the current developments in soft robot locomotion, materials, design, modeling, and manufacturing. It also seeks to establish a framework for solidifying the design principles within the literature to core components and concepts.