Reconfigurable soft flexure hinges via pinched tubes

Yuhao Jiang, Mohammad Sharifzadeh, Daniel M. Aukes

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

11 Scopus citations


Tuning the stiffness of soft robots is essential in order to extend usability and control the maneuverability of soft robots. In this paper, we propose a novel mechanism that can reconfigure the stiffness of tubular structures, using pinching to induce highly directional changes in stiffness. When pinched, these tubes can be then utilized as flexure hinges to create virtual joints on demand; the orientation of the hinge axis can additionally be selected via control of the distribution of pinch forces on the surface of the tube. Through proper material and geometry selection, passive shape recovery is observed when pinching forces are removed; a proposed active shape recovery technique can further assist the tube to recover its initial shape in order to re-configure the hinge in a new orientation. The proposed mechanism has been validated in FEA as well as experimentally, looking specifically at the relation between pinching force and curvature change, as well as comparing tube stiffness between pinched and unpinched configurations. The experimental prototype detailed in this paper - and demonstrated in the associated video - is capable of controlling the generation and recovery of flexure hinges at multiple orientations around the radial axis of tubes on demand.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2020 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, IROS 2020
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781728162126
StatePublished - Oct 24 2020
Externally publishedYes
Event2020 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, IROS 2020 - Las Vegas, United States
Duration: Oct 24 2020Jan 24 2021

Publication series

NameIEEE International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems
ISSN (Print)2153-0858
ISSN (Electronic)2153-0866


Conference2020 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, IROS 2020
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityLas Vegas

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Software
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Computer Science Applications


Dive into the research topics of 'Reconfigurable soft flexure hinges via pinched tubes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this