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Image STIFF-FLOP soft manipulator

STIFF-FLOP soft manipulator

Modular soft manipulator with high dexterity and intrinsic safety. The manipulator is based on a modular approach and each module is 60 mm long and 14 mm in diameter. It is able to implement omnidirectional bending and elongation when pressurized (pressure range: 0 – 1.5 bar).The basic version of the manipulator is composed of two modules, completely based on elastomers (silicones) and some ABS parts for connection. On the tip, the system can lodge a micro camera, a gripper or an ablator (all tested)

Key features:
  • Safe interaction with body parts or delicate objects
  • Modular
  • Contraction, elongation, omnidirectional bending
  • Multipurpose platform
Possible applications:
  • Endoscopic/Surgical robotics
  • Controllable overtube structure for inserting and guiding flexible tools
  • Soft robotic platform for testing control algorithms

Technical specifications

Modules can be quickly connected/disconnected for a one/two modules manipulator.:
DoF:Infinite passive – 6 active (actuators)
Time response (pneumatic valves):0.03 sec
Power supply:220 V@ 50 Hz
Weight:9 g (per single module)
Operating pressure:0 – 1.5 bar (per single fluidic chamber)
Bending:Omnidirectional – max 90 deg

Access information

Corresponding infrastructureSchool of Advanced Studies Sant'Anna
The BioRobotics Institute

Viale Rinaldo Piaggio, 34
56025 Pontedera PI, Italy

Unit of accessWorking day

Access history

The STIFF-FLOP Algorithm Exchange - Testing of Position Controller of a Novel Growing Soft Robot
Burcu Seyido?lu

The proposed study was to implement the control algorithm of a novel growing soft robot to the STIFF-FLOP soft manipulator. The project objectives are listed below:

• Enhancing the end-effector’s position accuracy by using novel growing soft robot’s algorithm which includes deformation correction
• The consideration of external loads applied to the end-effector, which affect tip positioning.
• Increasing the overall performance of the tip positioning by exchanging the algorithms.
• Making the overall position information of the end-effector more precise, accurate, and robust.


There are three possible impacts of the proposed study. Firstly, the proposed development in the algorithm and a successful algorithm exchange can increase the tip positioning of the STIFF-FLOP and thus improve its applications in the new areas of use. Secondly, it can also affect the future applications of the novel growing soft robot developed by home institution, by increasing its accuracy and robustness, and thus increase its use especially in the surgical robotic applications. Finally, in the long-term, it can draw attention to this field and lead to new technological improvements and solutions.


Coronavirus pandemic

Dear TERRINet applicants and future users,

we sincerely hope that you are staying safe in these challenging times that we are facing at the moment. The current emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic has deeply changed our lives. The recent and progressive lock-down forced us to reorganize our working routines in smart working modalities and to shut down the TERRINet infrastructures. Therefore, we regret to inform you that Trans-National Access has been suspended until further notice.

However, we would like to reassure you that we will keep evaluating the proposals submitted for Trans-National Access regularly. Indeed, despite access cannot be allowed for a while, the selected users will be queued and access will take over gradually as soon as the situation will allow it. We also inform you that a special application mechanism has been settled in TERRINet to mitigate the delays that will occur due to the COVID-19.

The Open Call no. 4 is currently open: we are accepting proposals under the new mechanism called "first come, first served". Proposals are directly forwarded to the evaluation panel as soon as they are submitted. Proposals submitted closer to the deadline will be dispatched after that. The deadline for the Open Call n.4 will be on May 31, 2020.

Do not hesitate! Get this unique opportunity to be granted with fully-covered access (including travel and accommodation costs) to 15 leading European robotics labs and 100+ best robotic platforms and to get in touch with leading robotic experts. 

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TERRINet team