Skip to Main Content
Most of robotic soft pads studied so far were made with a thick layer of homogeneous material shaped around a rigid core; their behavior has been widely investigated in the literature, mainly under compressive contact load, showing typical non-linear relationship between contact deformation and applied load (the so called power law). This paper proposes differentiated layer design, that is the adoption of a single elastic material, dividing the overall thickness of the pad into layers with different structural design (e.g. a continuous skin layer coupled with an internal layer with voids). The purpose is to modify the actual pad compliance and the resulting power law; in particular, given the material and the allowable pad thickness, to increase the compliance with respect to a non structured pad. Some possible internal layer structures are described, compatible with rapid prototyping manufacturing. Their compressive behaviors are tested and comparatively evaluated showing that the concept can work and be exploited for useful application.