Slit Tubes for Semisoft Pneumatic Actuators

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Belding L., Baytekin B., Baytekin H. T. , Rothemund P., Verma M. S. , Nemiroski A., ...More

ADVANCED MATERIALS, vol.30, no.9, 2018 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 30 Issue: 9
  • Publication Date: 2018
  • Doi Number: 10.1002/adma.201704446
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded, Scopus
  • Keywords: external shells, pneumatic actuators, pneumatic artificial muscles, semisoft, sequential actuation, soft robotics, SOFT ACTUATORS, DESIGN, FABRICATION, ROBOTICS, DRIVEN


This article describes a new principle for designing soft or semisoft' pneumatic actuators: SLiT (for SLit-in-Tube) actuators. Inflating an elastomeric balloon, when enclosed by an external shell (a material with higher Young's modulus) containing slits of different directions and lengths, produces a variety of motions, including bending, twisting, contraction, and elongation. The requisite pressure for actuation depends on the length of the slits, and this dependence allows sequential actuation by controlling the applied pressure. Different actuators can also be controlled using external sliders that act as reprogrammable on-off switches. A pneumatic arm and a walker constructed from SLiT actuators demonstrate their ease of fabrication and the range of motions they can achieve.