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Unit information: Soft Robotics in 2021/22

Unit name Soft Robotics
Unit code EMATM0057
Credit points 10
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Conn
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Engineering Mathematics
Faculty Faculty of Engineering

Description including Unit Aims

Soft Robotics has recently emerged as an important new field that extends the design possibilities of conventional robotics. Instead of only using fully rigid components and actuators, soft robotics uses a much wider range of materials and morphologies while often taking inspiration from nature. This includes polymers, silicones, hydrogels, smart materials, shape memory alloys and many others. This opens an entirely new design space and enables novel robotic systems that can deal with uncertainty in their environment more reliably.

This course presents different aspects of soft robotics including technologies, materials, actuation and sensing mechanisms. It will explore how nonlinear dynamics inherent to soft structures can be exploited to improve performance. Furthermore, students will be introduced with state-of-the-art modelling and control techniques available for soft robots.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the unit students will be able to;

  1. Describe the benefits and limitations of soft-bodied approaches.
  2. Apply soft technologies, materials, actuation and sensing system to real world applications.
  3. Explain the impact of morphological features of soft robot bodies and environment on performance.
  4. Identify where soft bodied approaches provide a useful solution over conventional robots.
  5. Employ common modelling approaches for soft bodied structures.

Teaching Information

Teaching will be delivered through a combination of synchronous and asynchronous sessions, including lectures, practical activities supported by drop-in sessions, problem sheets and self-directed exercises.

Assessment Information

1 Summative Assessment, 100% - Coursework. This will assess all ILOs.


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. EMATM0057).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.