Designing Fiber-Reinforced Soft Actuators for Planar Curvilinear Shape Matching

Gaurav Singh, Girish Krishnan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Fiber-reinforced soft pneumatic actuators can generate a wide variety of deformation behavior, making them popular in the field of soft robotics. Designing an actuator to meet a specified deformed shape is an important step toward the design of soft robots. We present a two-step methodology to design an actuator that matches a given planar curve on pressurization. In the first step, the curve is divided into a series of constant curvature (CC) segments that best approximate its shape. The second step involves designing a bending actuator by determining its fiber orientations for each CC segment. Further, this two-step method is extended to match two curves: a final deformed curve and an intermediate curve at a lower actuation pressure. On combining all the CC segments, the resulting actuator lies along a straight line unpressurized, and on pressurization deforms to trace the desired final curve through a preset intermediate curve. To demonstrate the method, we show different examples: an omega curve for an inchworm robot, an acronym SoRo for the Soft Robotics Journal, and a two-stage bending actuator.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)109-121
Number of pages13
JournalSoft Robotics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2020


  • fiber-reinforced actuators
  • shape matching

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Biophysics
  • Artificial Intelligence


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