Review of the Research Progress in Soft Robots
The soft robot is a new type of robot with strong adaptability, good pliability, and high flexibility. Today, it is widely used in the fields of bioengineering, disaster rescue, industrial production, medical services, exploration, and surveying. In this paper, the typical driven methods, 3D printing technologies, applications, the existed problems, and the development prospects for soft robots are summarized comprehensively. Firstly, the driven methods and materials of the soft robot are introduced, including fluid driven, smart materials driven, chemical reaction driven, a twisted and coiled polymer actuator, and so on. Secondly, the basic principles and characteristics of mainstream 3D printing technologies for soft materials are introduced, including FDM, DIW, IP, SLA, SLS, and so on. Then, current applications of soft robots, such as bionic structures, gripping operations, and medical rehabilitation are described. Finally, the problems existing in the development of soft robots, such as the shortage of 3D printable soft materials, efficient and effective manufacturing of soft robots, shortage of smart soft materials, efficient use of energy, the realization of complex motion forms of soft robot, control action accuracy and actual kinematic modeling are summarized. Based on the above, some suggestions are put forward pertinently, and the future development and applications of the soft robot are prospected.