Date of Award

Spring 1-22-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Engineering (ME)

First Advisor

Mark Rentschler

Second Advisor

Christoph Keplinger

Third Advisor

Sean Humbert


Robotics is entering a new realm of possibilities. The technology associated with traditional robotics is moving away from their rigid and linear predecessors. Soft materials are being used to design mechanisms and robotic bodies. New avenues of robot dynamics and control theory are being opened by the use of non-linear materials in new fabrication methods.

The work presented in this thesis highlights efforts to harness and control the untapped potential contained within soft robotics. First done through controlling a planar HASEL actuator. The methods and controller developed highlight the challenges in soft robotics but show a promising future through countering time dependent non-linear properties of rubber. Those challenges come from the self-sensing methodology used with soft actuators. Motivating an investigation into decoupled sensing methods. A decoupled sensing method that is highly accurate and repeatable is developed in the second section of this work. Within that section a look at scalability is discussed as many of the sensors in soft robotics today are time and labor intensive. The results and conclusions arrived at from this work paint a promising picture for these new and exciting robots and sensors by showing that both the time dependent properties in rubber can be countered and accurate sensing methods can be established.

Available for download on Thursday, January 27, 2022