Energy is an integral part of our everyday life, being one of the most fundamental needs, including our physiological activity. In the last 50 years, energy related issues, including demand and accessibility, consumption, and consciousness of use, have become a topic of paramount importance. In an epoch characterized by an imperative for environmental stewardship, the convergence of sustainability principles with advanced technological paradigms has emerged as a beacon of promise for forthcoming generations. This doctoral thesis embarks on a systematic exploration of the domain of sustainable soft robotics, wherein innovation converges with ecological accountability. At the outset, the fundamental definition of sustainability is rigorously analyzed, elucidating its role in sustainable technologies. A compelling exigency for robots that seamlessly harmonize with natural cadences, possessing the dual attributes of energetic self-reliance and biodegradability, assumes paramount importance. The need for a bioinspired approach to designing robots is crucial for current robotic technology. For a suitable transition in design philosophy, bioinspired robots should be capable of undergoing a complete life cycle, incorporating growth, remodeling, and morphogenesis. Such robots should utilize sustainable materials, have renewable energy sources, and be capable of decomposing. This can be possible just by understanding and extracting key principles from living organisms rather than directly copying them. Bioinspiration requires a multidisciplinary effort and aims to create robots that can navigate complex real-world environments without simplifications. It will necessitate a reevaluation of robot design, encompassing both physical and cognitive aspects, with a focus on integrated systems rather than component assembly. This approach is seen as a valuable tool for not only advancing robotics but also contributing to the study of biology in scenarios where investigating living organisms is impractical. Drawing inspiration from the robust architectures of nature’s progeny, this thesis introduces Geraniaceae seed-inspired soft robots, ingeniously engineered for hygroscopic actuation and sensing. Through a mutually beneficial fusion of form and function, these artificial structures emulate the awe-inspiring mechanisms of seed dispersal. Delving deeper into the domain of soft robotics, this research unfolds the potential of hygroscopic actuators, harnessing the latent energy of moisture as a fundamental source for motion. Through rigorous experimentation and computational inquiry, this study underscores the efficacy of hygroscopic actuation, revealing a sustainable avenue for soft robotic soil-exploration, as well as for environmental sensing. In summation, this doctoral endeavor stands as an affirmation of the potency of scientific inquiry in service of sustainability. From the foundational exposition of sustainability’s essence to the pioneering frontiers of hygroscopic actuation and seed-inspired robotics, this thesis represents an example of sustainable technology transition. In so doing, it sets the stage for a future wherein technology and nature coalesce harmoniously, ushering in an era characterized by bioinspired design, low-impact materials, and energetically sustainable and autonomous actuation.

Geraniaceae seed-inspired soft robots for environmental actuation and sensing / Cecchini, Luca. - (2024 Apr 23), pp. 1-77.

Geraniaceae seed-inspired soft robots for environmental actuation and sensing

Cecchini, Luca
2024-04-23

Abstract

Energy is an integral part of our everyday life, being one of the most fundamental needs, including our physiological activity. In the last 50 years, energy related issues, including demand and accessibility, consumption, and consciousness of use, have become a topic of paramount importance. In an epoch characterized by an imperative for environmental stewardship, the convergence of sustainability principles with advanced technological paradigms has emerged as a beacon of promise for forthcoming generations. This doctoral thesis embarks on a systematic exploration of the domain of sustainable soft robotics, wherein innovation converges with ecological accountability. At the outset, the fundamental definition of sustainability is rigorously analyzed, elucidating its role in sustainable technologies. A compelling exigency for robots that seamlessly harmonize with natural cadences, possessing the dual attributes of energetic self-reliance and biodegradability, assumes paramount importance. The need for a bioinspired approach to designing robots is crucial for current robotic technology. For a suitable transition in design philosophy, bioinspired robots should be capable of undergoing a complete life cycle, incorporating growth, remodeling, and morphogenesis. Such robots should utilize sustainable materials, have renewable energy sources, and be capable of decomposing. This can be possible just by understanding and extracting key principles from living organisms rather than directly copying them. Bioinspiration requires a multidisciplinary effort and aims to create robots that can navigate complex real-world environments without simplifications. It will necessitate a reevaluation of robot design, encompassing both physical and cognitive aspects, with a focus on integrated systems rather than component assembly. This approach is seen as a valuable tool for not only advancing robotics but also contributing to the study of biology in scenarios where investigating living organisms is impractical. Drawing inspiration from the robust architectures of nature’s progeny, this thesis introduces Geraniaceae seed-inspired soft robots, ingeniously engineered for hygroscopic actuation and sensing. Through a mutually beneficial fusion of form and function, these artificial structures emulate the awe-inspiring mechanisms of seed dispersal. Delving deeper into the domain of soft robotics, this research unfolds the potential of hygroscopic actuators, harnessing the latent energy of moisture as a fundamental source for motion. Through rigorous experimentation and computational inquiry, this study underscores the efficacy of hygroscopic actuation, revealing a sustainable avenue for soft robotic soil-exploration, as well as for environmental sensing. In summation, this doctoral endeavor stands as an affirmation of the potency of scientific inquiry in service of sustainability. From the foundational exposition of sustainability’s essence to the pioneering frontiers of hygroscopic actuation and seed-inspired robotics, this thesis represents an example of sustainable technology transition. In so doing, it sets the stage for a future wherein technology and nature coalesce harmoniously, ushering in an era characterized by bioinspired design, low-impact materials, and energetically sustainable and autonomous actuation.
23-apr-2024
XXXVI
2023-2024
Ingegneria civile, ambientale e mecc (29/10/12-)
Civil, Environmental and Mechanical Engineering
Pugno, Nicola
Barbara Mazzolai
no
ITALIA
Inglese
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11572/407234
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