Soft robots, thanks to their flexible structure, offer significant benefits in terms of safety, efficiency, and adaptability. These characteristics are desirable for any applications that require physical interaction between robots and humans. In particular, the use of soft robots with the ability to adjust the impedance of their limbs would allow for smooth interaction with people, avoiding possible injuries or damages. These robots offer significant advantages in this regard, as they can adapt their stiffness based on the safety requirements of the task. Jamming is a technique that allows us to change the stiffness of a flexible structure by extracting the air inside it. Unlike existing solutions in soft robotics that propose regulating stiffness through inflatable links or using jamming as an actuation system, this project proposes the design, modeling, implementation, and control of functional robotic prototypes with jamming-based links in combination with other actuation systems to provide them with motor capabilities and regulation of their structural stiffness. Specifically, this project aims to investigate the development and application of this type of technology as an innovative solution to address two of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): i) SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being: by improving the physical interaction capability of assistive robots to address the challenges of population aging; ii) SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure: by enabling safe human-robot physical interaction in industrial environments. The project is divided into three work packages that aim, respectively, at the design and development of robotic systems with variable stiffness soft links based on jamming, the modeling and control of these robotic systems, and the development of demonstrators and applications that allow for demonstrating and validating the behavior of these systems in real-life situations.

Project Data

Amount: 4k€

Project Code: JA.B1-02

Duration: January 2024 - December 2024

Principal Investigator: Juan M. Gandarias


Manuel Fernández-Carmona

Juan A. Fernández-Madrigal

Jesús M. Gómez-de-Gabriel

Antonio J. Muñoz-Ramírez

Cristina Urdiales