Gijs van Ouwerkerk

Soft Robotics Lab

Choose from a range of exciting assignments

Extending the abilities of soft robots by exploring the symbiosis of robotics and additive manufacturing

The Soft Robotics Lab at the University of Twente combines smart materials, and advanced manufacturing techniques with the intelligence of robotic systems. We use these sophisticated fabrication tools to unpack the potential of soft sensors, actuators, and stiffness-tunable structures for human-focused applications.

Our research is inspired by the multi-functionality of composite structures in biological organisms. Through synergistic use of robotics and manufacturing techniques like assembly integrated additive manufacturing (AIAM), fiber-reinforced additive manufacturing (FRAM), and smart textile technologies, we believe we can embed more functionality into soft robots. We integrate state-of-the-art robotics technologies with these manufacturing techniques to enhance their potential to create intelligent, moving, and ultimately independently functioning soft robots.

We draw inspiration from the way composites are formed in nature to direct our research into roboticizing advanced manufacturing. We also examine how nature forms intelligent composites. This influences our choices of integrated materials and mechanisms that show the most promise as target creations of our unique manufacturing techniques. We aim to use advanced automated manufacturing of soft-hard material composites to create robots that optimally interact with humans. Soft robots lend well to physically flexible and versatile operations in uncertain conditions. Hard robots lend well to high power, accurate, and rapid movements. What impact can we have on healthcare if we combine them both in robots?


youtube" Icon - Download for free – Iconduck

Check out our latest research findings or projects, or get involved through one of our bachelor's or master's assignments.