Editor: Gareth J. Monkman

Soft Robotics

eBook: US $59 Special Offer (PDF + Printed Copy): US $94
Printed Copy: US $65
Library License: US $236
ISBN: 978-981-5051-73-5 (Print)
ISBN: 978-981-5051-72-8 (Online)
Year of Publication: 2022
DOI: 10.2174/97898150517281220101


Soft robotics is a subfield of robotics that encompasses the design and fabrication of robots with soft and compliant materials. Soft robots represent components like human prosthetics or biomimicking systems. Soft robotics relies on technically astute designs based on the correct choice of materials to enable a level of dexterity not possible with rigid components alone. The basic prime movers (actuators) and perception (sensors) require control systems capable of accommodating imprecise feedback data and often unpredictable reaction times. Mobility in such robots is more akin to entomological or marine systems than conventional guided vehicles.

This reference is a guide to materials and systems used in soft robotics. If features 6 chapters contributed by robotics experts that review fundamental and applied topics that are important for understanding the requirements of soft robotics design projects and the physics of the polymers involved. Chapters are organized for easy reading and include references.

The topics include:

- Aspects of materials processing and engineering for the development of soft robotic devices

- A review on biological gripping principles and their application to robotics

- Information about self-sensing electroadhesive polymer grippers with magnetically controllable surface geometry

- Theoretical and experimental investigations of magnetic hybrid materials

- Modeling and dynamic analysis of a novel rotary soft robotic arm by transfer matrix method

- Design and control of a portable continuum robot for pipe inspection assisted by a rigid manipulator

This book is a suitable reference for scholars and engineers who are seeking knowledge about materials and design principles in soft robotics with its practical applications.

Audience: Academic scholars and professional engineers interested in materials and design principles in soft robotics with its practical applications.


Soft Robotics is a subfield of robotics concerning manipulators designed to have increased compliance and dexterity by minimizing the number of rigid components and mechanisms involved. Soft robots are more akin to living organisms, such as larval stage Lepidoptera rather than the traditional industrial robots with rigid joints. Sometimes, the need to include rigid components leads to a form of hybrid, i.e ., a flexible concatenation of rigid elements connected via compliant tendons.

Many soft and flexible materials which may be controlled by means of an external stimulus belong to the family of so-called “smart materials”. It is possible to distinguish between “intelligent” materials, which implies a degree of thinking – i.e., integrated or embedded (soft) microelectronics and “smart” materials which are astute in that they require a simple input stimulus which results in a specific (but different) output without any form of computational interface between input and output.

Soft robotics relies heavily on such smart materials and the necessary means of instrumentation and control. This is not always simple because actuation means vary considerably - Thermal, electrical, magnetic, etc. No robot is viable without closed-loop sensory feedback to enable precise control. This places demands on the integration of sensors for tasks, such as position and force measurement. Furthermore, a suitable forward and inverse kinematic must be devised and implemented to program the manipulator.

One of the first “soft” areas of robotics included object prehension. The ability to acquire an object with either controlled force or controlled compliance is integral to soft robotics. In the meantime, such philosophies have migrated to other areas and now encompass complete robotic concepts.

No single book can claim to be a comprehensive text covering all aspects of soft robotics – the discipline is too wide for such a work. Like most other volumes, this book is a cross-section of some of the more recent advances in soft robotics regarding much of the earlier work. Several chapters in this book are based on work carried out within the DFG special research program for Soft Robotics (SPP2100), whereas others come from a wider range of international authors.

Gareth J. Monkman
Ostbayerische Technische Hochschule Regensburg