Master Student Projects

Below is a list of currently available research project at RRL. If you are interested in carrying out one of the projects please contact the person responsible.

Design of soft pneumatic bending actuators for soft exosuit

Motivation: Development of wearable robotic devices for the human torso is challenging due to the high degrees of freedom of the spine, and lack of areas for applying forces on the torso. Such a device would be of great potential for applications such as lifting support, bodyweight support in a leaning posture, posture correction, and haptic force feedback. The objective of this work is to develop a soft exosuit for studying force interactions with the human torso.

Current state of the art: We have prototyped a soft exosuit as shown in the figure, consisting of six bending soft pneumatic actuators (SPAs), marked 1 to 6. The SPAs are placed flat on the body, and bend when pressurized. Fabric straps envelope the SPAs, and transmit their forces to different locations on the torso.

Figure: Current prototype of the soft exosuit, with six SPAs, marked 1 to 6.

Current challenges: In the current prototype, the maximum force and displacement of each SPA is limited 40 N and 7cm respectively. Furthermore, the force output reduces with displacement.

Objective of the semester project: Design and fabricate bending SPAs for the soft exosuit with high force (>100 N) and large displacement (>15 cm) capacity.

Expected work:

  • Fabricate different types of bending SPAs, and optimize their fabrication process
  • Develop analytical or heuristic models for SPA force output and displacement
  • Study, implement and compare methods to anchor SPAs to the wearer’s body
Type: Semester project (full-time)
Type of work: 20% design, 20% manufacturing, 20% hardware, 40% testing
Requirements: Mechanical design, Characterization, Design
Subject(s): Robotics, Soft pneumatic actuators, Exosuit
Responsible(s): Sagar Joshi, Jamie Paik

Reconfigurable Floating Power Modules

In order to reduce water evaporation while harvesting solar energy for efficient and sustainable energy management in dry area. We developed a modular robotic chain able to self-reconfigure, forming a 2D surface in order to adapt to water storage with different sizes and shapes. This surface can float on a farming reservoir and acts as a protective layer between the water and the sun radiation. By reducing the sun exposition, the evaporation process is lessened, allowing a better conservation of the water resources.

This chain is composed of modules, each one carrying a solar cell. Once assembled and the reservoir covered, the surface created can be considered as a solar panel composed by the solar element of all the modules. The modules are linked together by flexible joints or torsional actuators. This ensures the overall structure to cover any kind of reservoir form, even complex. All the links between modules and actuators can be disconnected, allowing an easy intervention in case of dysfunction and an efficient assembly of the chain.

Expected work in this project:

  • Optimize and simplify the manufacturing process of the modules
  • Develop robust modular and waterproof connections between modules
  • Improve the system robustness and stability while floating on the water
  • Optimize the power efficiency and characterize the pneumatic actuators
  • Implement a safer and more efficient electronic system to distribute and store the power generated by the solar cells.
Type: Masters project (full-time)
Period: To be defined
Type of work: 70% hardware, 20% characterization, 10% electronics
Requirements: Mechanical design (CAD), Electronics basics, Matlab
Subject(s): Robotics, Soft pneumatic actuators, Energy
Responsible(s): Frédéric Giraud, Jamie Paik

Autonomous and Self-Reconfigurable Multi-Locomotive Origami Robots

Robogami Masters

Applications such as emergency mitigation, search, environmental monitoring and space exploration require compact and lightweight robot designs with adaptable bodies and locomotion skills for crossing uneven terrains and passages, and their rapid and low-cost mass fabrication, which pose great design challenges. We demonstrated that origami-inspired design can address these key challenges altogether by constructing various versions of multi-gait origami robot Tribot.​​

The main goal of the project is to design and fabricate the new generation of Tribot, using novel origami manufacturing techniques to equip robots with:

– Autonomy: on-board batteries, controller and multiple sensors;
– Reconfigurability: automated folding and deployment;
– Adaptable locomotion skills: jumping, rolling, walking, etc;
– Smart material-based actuation and sensing.​

Type: Semester project, Master project (full-time)
Period: To be defined
Type of work: 60% multi-layer fabrication, 20% research, 20% theory
Requirements: CAD design, electronics and micro-controller programming
Subject(s): Origami robots, Folding Mechanisms, Smart Actuators and Sensors
Responsible(s): Zhenishbek Zhakypov, Jamie Paik