Latest Updates
 
 
March 2022

 
  • 18 FlowIO devices are now complete and in in use at KTH Royal Institute of Technology and Uppsala University in Sweden.

  • Two new documentation pages have been added about

    • Pneumatic Configurations​

    • External Air Source

  • We are now reviewing the papers submitted for our CHI'22 workshop on Soft Robotics for Human-Computer Interaction Design.​

 
January 2022

 
  • FlowIO wins two product design awards this month at the International Design Awards competition (iDA), Gold in Media And Home Electronics -> Robotics, and Silver in Education -> Self learning devices. Details here

  • Developing a compressed air module for FlowIO as an alternative to the pump modules.

  • Home page text updated to better explain expectations.

  • 5 FlowIO  devices provided to Ed Moriarty at the MIT Edgerton Center

  • Multiple devices are being assembled at KTH, Sweden to be used in an interactive performance next month for haptic feedback control.

 
December 2021

 
  • New Firmware and GUI updates now available for FlowIO.

  • This new upgrade now notifies you upon connecting your FlowIO device, whether your firmware is up to date or if an update is available. This means that you won't need to manually check whethr I have release new updates.

  • Additionally, in the GUI the last pressure value for each port is now displayed in a table under the interactive graphic rather than in the console, making for a much more pleasant user experience!

  • Some updates have been made to the JavaScript API

  • We got accepted to do a Soft Robotics Workshop at CHI'22. More information about the workshop will be provided next month on this website.

  • I gave a virtual talk about my work at RWTH Aachen, Germany on Dec.15.2021. Rocording available here.

  • Multiple updates have been made to the Arduino library, including the inflateP() function, which allows you to have nonblocking, pressure-dependend feedback control on any port. Additional feedback-control functions are currently being developed to be added to the library.

  • The FlowIO firmware was also updated to fix an issue where the pressure sensor was not detected after pressing the reset button.

 
November 2021

 
  • FlowIO won the 2021 Hackaday Grand Prize MIT Media Lab also wrote an article about this award

  • FlowIO won the iF DESIGN TALENT AWARD.

  • Project OmniFiber by Ozgun Afsar et. al. was published in UIST'21 and also featured on MIT News. You can also find the videos of it on our Projects page.

  • A warm welcome to Heoni Oh (Hailey) to our team who has been actively involved with the assembly and distribution of FlowIO devices for well over a month already! Hailey is a current student at MIT.

  • We've now sent a total of 18 FlowIO devices to people around the world, to the places shown on this map.

  • You now have the ability to message other registered members of this website!  

  • FlowIO device parts have been provided to University College London and the University of Manchester. 

  • An assembled FlowIO kit was provided to Harvard GSD.

  • Major improvements to the mobile version of this website.

  • I am giving multiple talks about my work this month in several universities around western Europe, some of which may also be live-streamed. If you would like to join via zoom, contact me to send you the link. Or come join in person:

    • Uppsala University, Sweden - Nov.2.2021​

    • Imperial College London, UK - Nov.23.2021

    • University College London, UK - Nov.24.2021

    • De Vinci Innovation Center, France - Nov.29.2021

    • University of Paris - Saclay - Nov.30.2021

 
October 2021

 
  • A notch was added to the enclosure designs that securely connects the main module to any of the pump modules. 

  • With this change, the modules now stay together, no matter how you turn and twist the FlowIO device. 

  • The latest 3D CAD files have now been released in the amazing 3MF file format! You can download them here.

  • This will be the last update to the CAD files for now; no further updates are intended for the foreseeable future.

  • A total of 17 FlowIO devices have been shipped to date!

  • FlowIO won the iF Design Talent Award!

  • Two new chapters added to the Make FlowIO tutorials, namely, the instruction for assembling the Small and the Large pump modules. 

  • Several of the existing chapters have been augmented and updated as well, with better pictures.

  • Each tutorial now features an intro section that lists all the required parts and supplies needed to complete the steps.

  • New graphics and a list of awards added to the Home page.

  • There is now a dedicated page listing all Contributors.

 
September 2021
 
  • The snap-fit joints have been completely reengineered and now the 3D printed covers are held much more firmly.

  • There are almost no visible gaps now between the parts.

  • The base for each module was completely redesigned to make the attachment more secure.

  • The need for supports during 3D printing has been greatly reduced, making printing much easier and even saving some material that would normally go towards support structures. This also reduces the print time slightly.

  • The bottom edges are now also filleted, which was not possible with the older design, making the device more comfortable to wear and more aesthetically pleasing.

  • The battery for the medium pump module now goes below the pumps rather than behind them. This enables us to use the same kind of battery as the one used in the main module, thus reducing the number of unique parts. As a result, the medium pump module is now almost 7mm smaller in length, but now the entire device is 0.75mm taller - which was a great trade-off.

  • The added height of FlowIO now allows for a 3D printed separator to be added in between the battery and the valves in the main module, which greatly increases the safety of the device by preventing heat from the valves to be directly absorbed by the battery. 

  • Because of the dimensional changes, the new enclosures are not compatible with the old ones, so if you have a FlowIO device already and you want to upgrade to the latest version, you should 3D print all the parts. 

  • Updated the Arduino API documentation to reflect the recently-developed power management APIs for FlowIO.

  • The assembly instructions for the Medium Pump module have now been updated based on the latest designs. (https://www.softrobotics.io/flowio chapter 11)

  • There is no longer a need to buy the Talon Ultra-Flex wire because I found an interesting way to make things work using the valve wires that we normally discard. Thus, it's a win-win situation because we can now save a couple of dollars per device while also reducing waste!

 
August 2021
 
  • Increased charging rate and reduced charging time from 2.5 hours to 1.5 hours through a hardware upgrade.

  • Reduced power consumption by over 50% through an advanced power management algorithm with feedback control loops, by exploiting the fact that valves need far less current to stay open than to open in the first place. Existing users of FlowIO can get the advantage of this just by upgrading their device firmware to the latest version.

  • The new firmware also fixes the issue where the device would become hot after continuous operation. 

  • Contacted multiple new manufacturers and suppliers in an effort to reduce the cost of parts used in FlowIO, and increase the speed of production. Some cost reduction has been achieved.

  • Designed 3 completely new expansion modules for FlowIO, which are now being made and will be revealed later this year! With these modules, FlowIO will become even more general-purpose!

  • Designed another version of the PCBs that are slightly smaller and with higher current-carrying capacity, so that it is now possible to use even other kinds of valves that may be more power-hungry. (Hint: HydroIO).

  • Found a higher-density battery with 20% higher capacity for the main module. This one had to be custom ordered directly from a manufacturer.

  • An additional pump module was developed that is slightly larger than the Small and slightly smaller than the Medium pump module. 

  • 1 Fully assembled FlowIO device and the parts for 3 additional FlowIO devices have been shipped out this month to 4 new users!

  • Numerous updates have been made to the replication tutorials and documentation sections on the softrobotics.io website.

  • A new function was added to the Arduino API for power optimization.

  • A new page on the website that gives credit to the donors and sponsors is under development. 

  • A custom-made FFC cable of exact dimensions was ordered to reduce the time and complexity of assembly. 

  • Working towards reducing the cost of the FlowIO device by working directly with part manufacturers and ordering in bulk quantities from alternative suppliers.

  • Greatly Improved the 3D printed enclosure designs with improvements to functionality, structure, and aesthetics.