June, 2020
#Soft Robotics

Soft Robotics

Collaboration with a researcher at MIT Media Lab  

Over the summer, I had an opportunity to collaborate with Ali who has developed a pneumatics development platform for soft robotics. The mission is to empower people by giving them opportunities and affordable resources to prototype, innovate, and invent, to envision radically new ideas, and to express their creative potential in new ways.

Part of my role was to develop of the GUI and to articulate different uses and artistic approaches for our pneumatic device. I also worked on fabrication and documented processes for soft robotics to be shared with the public, all with the goal of designing interfaces that allow people from other backgrounds to bring their creative ideas into life.

Molding and casting

I have explored different approaches to fabrication of soft robotics, finding molding and casting techniques suitable for intro-level students and consumer-grade printers.
1. Doumentation of Molds

Origami Soft robotics molds

Modular Molds
Charmeleon Tongue


Ali developed FlowIO, which is a pneumatics platform containing pumps, valves, and pneumatics components, to microcontroller, sensors, and Bluetooth module. There are 5 pneumatic IO ports, each capable of Inflation, Vacuum, Release, and Pressure Sensing. My role was to develop GUI of controlling pneumatic ports, and working on projects using FlowIO.

Low cost material experiments
During the pandemic, it became extremely difficult for students to find tools and space to fabricate. We wanted to identify low-cost materials that could be easily found and accessed in everyday environments, so students could get started making their own DIY soft robotics without the resources of a large lab or studio.

Pneumatic driven vs. Tendon driven robots mockup