As more Americans suffered from mobility impairments, rehabilitation becomes more and more important. Using robots for rehabilitation could potentially lower the barriers of rehabilitation for patients in need and increase the effectiveness of rehabilitation. This paper presented a proof-of-concept soft robot that could be used for finger rehabilitation. This soft robot can bend with heat-induced actuation without many external components. In this soft robot design, a phase changing material (PCM) is sealed in reservoirs inside an elastomer structure. As heat applied, the PCM begins to change phase from solid to liquid and the pressure inside the sealed reservoirs increases and “pushes” the elastomer structure to a different shape to create a “movement” of the robot. Depending on the locations of the reservoirs and methods the heat applied, the movements of the soft robot can be controlled with precision. Preliminary results successfully demonstrated a basic bending motion of this soft robot that mimics the human finger movement.

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