Optimization and fabrication of programmable domains for soft magnetic robots: a review

Bacchetti, A., Lloyd, P., Taccola, S., Fakhoury, E., Cochran, S. , Harris, R. A., Valdastri, P. and Chandler, J. H. (2022) Optimization and fabrication of programmable domains for soft magnetic robots: a review. Frontiers in Robotics and AI, 9, 1040984. (doi: 10.3389/frobt.2022.1040984) (PMID:36504496) (PMCID:PMC9729867)

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Driven by the aim of realizing functional robotic systems at the milli- and submillimetre scale for biomedical applications, the area of magnetically driven soft devices has received significant recent attention. This has resulted in a new generation of magnetically controlled soft robots with patterns of embedded, programmable domains throughout their structures. This type of programmable magnetic profiling equips magnetic soft robots with shape programmable memory and can be achieved through the distribution of discrete domains (voxels) with variable magnetic densities and magnetization directions. This approach has produced highly compliant, and often bio-inspired structures that are well suited to biomedical applications at small scales, including microfluidic transport and shape-forming surgical catheters. However, to unlock the full potential of magnetic soft robots with improved designs and control, significant challenges remain in their compositional optimization and fabrication. This review considers recent advances and challenges in the interlinked optimization and fabrication aspects of programmable domains within magnetic soft robots. Through a combination of improvements in the computational capacity of novel optimization methods with advances in the resolution, material selection and automation of existing and novel fabrication methods, significant further developments in programmable magnetic soft robots may be realized.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:Research reported in this article was supported by the Garfield Weston Foundation, by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) under grants number EP/R045291/1 and EP/V009818/1, EP/P027687/1, and by the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program (Grant agreement No. 818045).
Keywords:Soft robots material and design, magnetic materials, magnetic soft robots, design optimization, advanced fabrication, bio-inspired (BI), programmable magnetic profiling.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Cochran, Professor Sandy and Bacchetti, Mr Alistair
Authors: Bacchetti, A., Lloyd, P., Taccola, S., Fakhoury, E., Cochran, S., Harris, R. A., Valdastri, P., and Chandler, J. H.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering
College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering > Systems Power and Energy
Journal Name:Frontiers in Robotics and AI
Publisher:Frontiers Media
ISSN (Online):2296-9144
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2022 Bacchetti, Lloyd, Taccola, Fakhoury, Cochran, Harris, Valdastri and Chandler
First Published:First published in Frontiers in Robotics and AI 9: 1040984
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
300671Surgery enabled by ultrasonicsMargaret LucasEngineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)EP/R045291/1ENG - Systems Power & Energy