Adeline Wihardja, ME Senior, received 2nd place at SMASIS conference for her paper, “Posable tensegrity-constrained inflatable kinematic graphical analysis.” SMASIS was a virtual conference put on by the ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) the 2020 Conference was on Smart Materials, Adaptive Structures and Intelligent Systems
Abstract: Inflatable devices have been used in various fields (e.g. medical, aerospace, structural, sports and recreation) due to their low cost, lightweight, simplicity, and ability to compactly stow yet deploy to large sizes with complex shapes. These traditional application areas, however, all share a common idea that the shape of the fully inflated device is relatively constant and is not changeable by the user. In many user-interactive commercial devices, (e.g. armrests, headrests, lamps) the ability for inflatables to be manually repositioned directly by the user is desired. This paper explores a new approach using internal string-like tensile elements to provide passive control (posability) while maintaining stowability and other inherent advantages of inflatables, leveraging concepts in the field of tensegrity mechanisms. Graphical instantaneous center kinematic analysis techniques for traditional linkage systems are extended to include these tensegrity mechanisms, enabling the design of one and two degree of freedom functional building blocks, providing posability in two and three dimensions. The novel technology and design methods presented provide a foundation for the development of a class of new user-interactive inflatable devices with posable functionality and deploy and stow capability.