Over the past few years, roboticists have not only been using the versatile capabilities of jamming in a large range of application areas, they have also been contributing to the fundamental research by developing new high-performance jamming structures through modeling, fabrication and design. This tutorial highlights the state of the art of jamming structures, by bringing together leading experts who have used jamming in their robotics research.
The tutorial will start with a session on the fundamentals of jamming technology, which will include an introduction to the field, an overview of the different actuation methods, an outline of effective theoretical and empirical models, as well as an inventory of fabrication techniques. This will also include a comparison with alternative methods of varying mechanical impedance, e.g. continuously variable transmissions, eddy current dampers, etc.). The following session will consist of shorter talks on applications of jamming technology given by leading roboticists on how they have utilized jamming for specific applications in their research.
The tutorial will end with a 90 minute hands-on fabrication session, in which participants will make their own jamming structures. Participants can choose among fabrication projects that use layer, fiber, or granular jamming materials. The organizers will provide materials and equipment for up to 50 participants, including TPU plastic film, impulse film sealers, polymer tubing, and vacuum pumps. The organizers have experience running similar outreach sessions in a variety of contexts.
This tutorial aims to provide a bridge between understanding of the fundamental mechanics behind jamming and its task-specific performance in a large variety of robotic applications, as well as outlining future challenges. The interactive session will inform and inspire researchers who are interested in incorporating jamming into their robotics applications.
Different jamming structures have been used for different applications.
A fundamental understanding of jamming-induced mechanical behavior provides the ability to design and fabricate jamming structures with specific programmable behavior.
The hands-on session will allow participants to go through the cycle of making a jamming structure for a task-specific purpose. They will make their own design decisions, fabricate samples, and test the performance of their resulting structures.
(Photos are from a previous high school outreach session by the organizers.)