University of California San Diego, California, United States
Keywords: High-Voltage, Power Delivery, Power Management, Soft RobotsIntelligent mechanical/electrical devices, i.e. robots, have been increasingly more integrated with human life, making revolutionary changes in our productivity at an unprecedented rate. Among many types of robots, soft robots are becoming more important with more direct compatibility to humans and nature, requiring soft, versatile, lightweight, and compact materials to conform to their environment. A key challenge in realizing these soft robots lies in the electronics to support them. Particularly, many soft robots require a modular, miniaturized power supply and management unit that needs to support an extremely high voltage (~10 kV) and high-power (~10s W) in a compact space. However, this type of power supply is not available in an acceptable form factor and with acceptable efficiency in today’s commercial market and research environments - available parts are either too large or too low power to be integrated into soft robotic systems. This project is to address the absence of high-power, high-voltage, small form-factor supplies and drivers suitable for soft robotics at present, as well as to aim at designing an efficient, com- pact power delivery and management module that can be scaled up to enable unique features and capabilities in current and future soft robots.