Dr. Suyi Li and student Joshua Kauffman win award

August 31, 2020

In August 2020, Suyi Li, assistant professor of mechanical engineering and his student Joshua Kaufmann were awarded the Freudenstein Young Investigator Award at the International Design Engineering Technical conferences (IDETC) held by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.  This annual award, established in 1996, “recognizes a paper that makes a significant original contribution to the theory or practice of mechanisms and has the potential to enhance the public good.”

The origami arm reconfiguring between different link-joint assignments.

Their paper is titled “Examing the bending stiffness of generalized Kresling modules for robotic manipulation.”  In this paper, they took inspirations from how octopus controlled its flexible arms and constructed a robotic arm by assembling Kresling origami modules together.  These origami modules have two different stable states.  They can behave like a flexible joint with low bending stiffness or like a stiff link with high stiffness, without requiring any continuous power supply.  In this way, the robotic arm can exhibit pseudo-linkage kinematics with lower control requirements and improved motion accuracy.   Their work might open a new way to configure and control soft robotic arms effectively for future manufacturing, bio-medical operation, and search-rescue missions.