Soft-bodied adaptive multimodal locomotion strategies in fluid-filled confined spaces

Ziyu Ren, Rongjing Zhang, Ren Hao Soon, Zemin Liu, Wenqi Hu*, Patrick R Onck*, Metin Sitti*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)
39 Downloads (Pure)


Soft-bodied locomotion in fluid-filled confined spaces is critical for future wireless medical robots operating inside vessels, tubes, channels, and cavities of the human body, which are filled with stagnant or flowing biological fluids. However, the active soft-bodied locomotion is challenging to achieve when the robot size is comparable with the cross-sectional dimension of these confined spaces. Here, we propose various control and performance enhancement strategies to let the sheet-shaped soft millirobots achieve multimodal locomotion, including rolling, undulatory crawling, undulatory swimming, and helical surface crawling depending on different fluid-filled confined environments. With these locomotion modes, the sheet-shaped soft robot can navigate through straight or bent gaps with varying sizes, tortuous channels, and tubes with a flowing fluid inside. Such soft robot design along with its control and performance enhancement strategies are promising to be applied in future wireless soft medical robots inside various fluid-filled tight regions of the human body.

Original languageEnglish
Article number eabh2022
Number of pages15
JournalScience Advances
Issue number27
Publication statusPublished - 30-Jun-2021

Cite this