SoRoCAD: A Design Tool for the Building Blocks of Pneumatic Soft Robotics
Soft robotics uses soft, flexible materials and elastic actuation mechanisms to create systems that are more adaptable and tolerant to unknown environments, and safer for human-machine interaction, than rigid robots. Pneumatic soft robots can be fabricated using more affordable materials compared to traditional robots and make use of technologies such as 3D printing, making them an attractive choice for research and DIY projects. However, their design is still highly unintuitive, and at up to two days, design iterations can take prohibitively long: The behavior of, e.g., a pneumatic silicone gripper only becomes apparent after designing and 3D printing its mold, casting, curing, assembling, and testing it. We introduce SoRoCAD, a design tool supporting a Maker-friendly soft robotics design and fabrication pipeline that incorporates simulating the final actuation into the design process.