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Unit information: Soft Robotics in 2020/21

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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.

Reading and References