This position involves working on a project related to the development of a muscular-skeleton motion system to enhance the efficiency of existing soft manipulators. Soft robots are complaint mechanisms that rely on body deformation to generate desired motion or fulfill predefined tasks. Benefiting from their intrinsic compliance, soft robots can ensure human-safe operations, making them an ideal solution to bridge the gap between machines and humans. However, the inherent compliance also brings drawbacks of low mechanical efficiency, like limited payload capability, workspace, and motion accuracy. Looking into the anatomical structure of vertebrates, the body is composed of a rigid skeleton and soft muscles. This biological evidence suggests a similar approach, a muscular-skeletal system, in soft robots to enhance their mechanical efficiency.
In this project, we focus on the design of muscular-skeletal motion systems to overcome the limitations of existing soft robots and also improve the structure compactness and modularity to enable their applications in the industry. The muscular-skeletal motion system is composed of a kinematic skeletal structure for support and energy-intensive soft artificial muscles for actuation and coordinating the motion. The supportive skeletal structure is a linkage mechanism connected by spherical joints to ensure a primary large workspace. While the soft artificial muscles are pneumatic soft actuators that are designed using the origami folding technique with unprecedented modularity and mechanical efficiency. Additionally, a compact regulator is integrated into the artificial muscle to enable low-level pressure control. Our goal is not only to mimic the anatomic structure of vertebrates, but also to explore the boundary of mechanical efficiency for this muscular-skeletal system, i.e. the workspace, payload capability, and motion accuracy.
The main research tasks for the project include but will not be limited to:
- the structure design of the muscular-skeletal system, including energy-intensive artificial muscles, compact pressure regulators, and kinematic skeletal structures;
- forward and inverse kinematic model of the muscular-skeletal system;
- smart control of the muscular-skeletal system to conduct industrial tasks;
- Coordinating a small team of researchers at different levels (e.g., FYP students, remote/on-site interns, master's students);
- Write papers and present work at top-tier local or international conferences or workshops.
- BEng/BSc/MEng/MSc in Mechanical Engineering, Soft Robotics, Machine Learning, Mechanical Design, or related disciplines.
- Experience in developing soft artificial muscles, using machine learning algorithms to control a soft manipulator, and familiar with 2D prototyping techniques, 3D printing, etc.;
- Proficiency with CAD software, FEM analysis and at least one of the FEM software (e.g., Abaqus, Ansys, Comsol).
- Excellent interpersonal and communication skills.
- Good teamwork abilities, self-motivation, and self-reflection.
- Proficiency in the English language, both in oral and written form.
Location: Kent Ridge Campus
Organization: College of Design and Engineering
Department : Mechanical Engineering
Employee Referral Eligible: No
Job requisition ID : 19740
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