Soft Robot for Gait Rehabilitation of Spinalized Rodents
Soft actuators made of highly elastic polymers allow novel robotic system designs, yet application-specific soft robotic systems are rarely reported. Taking notice of the characteristics of soft pneumatic actuators (SPAs) such as high customizability and low inherent stiffness, we report in this work the use of soft pneumatic actuators for a biomedical use - the development of a soft robot for rodents, aimed to provide a physical assistance during gait rehabilitation of a spinalized animal. The design requirements to perform this unconventional task are introduced. Customized soft actuators, soft joints and soft couplings for the robot are presented. Live animal experiment was performed to evaluate and show the potential of SPAs for their use in the current and future biomedical applications.