Tyler Roman- Inflatables Long Term Reading Assignment (Mikesell)

For the Long Term Reading Assignment, I made sure to charge in first and grab the most interesting piece (at least to me) and was more than happy to grab

Towards a Soft Pneumatic Glove for Hand Rehabilitation

published in Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), 2013 IEEE/RSJ International Conference.

And a link to my bare-bones presentation.

The reason for the lack of text being the expectation that I would narrate most of the information gained from the reading.

Overall the purpose of the text was exactly that of the title. Creating a soft glove made of air-controlled pneumatic networks that when actuated would cause the hand to contract in a semi-natural fashion thus creating a cheaper, easier, and simpler means of hand rehabilitation rather than the practice of requiring the hiring expensive physical rehabilitator.

The way in which this was done was by creating soft actuators through the use of silicone.

Taking inspiration from McKibben actuators the team involved used silicone and molds in order to create these actuators based on the PneuNet (Pneumatic Network Technique).

Once the actuators were created the team spent vast amounts of time taking careful calculations in order to ensure reliability, comfortability, and safety. In order to do so, they spent a lot of time calculating and comparing results taken between the observed data and the FEM data or Finite Element Modeling data (data calculated via mathematical computation and physics). Luckily, bar a few discrepancies in data due to the nature of the measurements and further improvements needing to be made most of the results landed squarely in what was both anticipated and needed.

The actuators were then connected to a neoprene glove designed for comfortability and quick removal for safety and then tested. The tests showed the actuators working to bend the hand to grasp various objects as seen in the photos in my powerpoint.

Take away and reflection:

Overall, I really liked this paper. It was a nice extension to the McKibben actuator lab we did in Lab 3 and really showed me yet again, the versatility of inflatables and their importance in the development and furthering of modern technology. coming into this class I honestly thought that the class would be about balloons and hot air balloons and water balloons or like bouncy castles and the like and yet, time and time again I have been suprised with the artistry, creativity, and unfortold possibilities of inflatables. The idea that inflatables could be used to tackle such things as physical rehabilitation, or used as “hugging” or support type devices to tackle mental illness, was a concept I had never taken into consideration before. Truly though, the depth of research needed to calculate and understand the full utility of the soft actuator truly goes to show the diversity of the inflatable for progress in the modern age, in all faculties of life, and in ways I had honestly never thought possible.

Tyler Roman- Inflatables Lab 5 (Mikesell)

 For this lab, I partnered with Isabella Baranyk and Maya Williams to use Arduino to control and measure an air pressure sensor.

The materials used were an Arduino, Breadboard, wires, air pump, valve, power source, IP 120 transistor, diode, voltage regulator, pressure sensor, and an inflatable square of TPU coated fabric

In the lab using the materials, we created two circuits, the first being a circuit designed to cycle through various high and low states, inflating and deflating an inflatable as they change.


While I was soldering the wires to the air pump, Maya and Isabella used the digital multimeter to ensure that the voltage was correct before plugging the circuit into any power sources. Our circuit needed about volts of outside power from a secondary source which they measured pretty accurately as seen below.


When the circuit was finished we connected the air pump to the valve with some small plastic tubing and then attached the inflatable square made of TPU coated fabric to the valve and successfully inflated it, but not deflating. After a while, we realized we still needed the power from the secondary source. Once the power was connected the finished circuit could both inflate and deflate the square. In the video we recorded you can hear the clicking of the valve that shows that air pressure is being released from the system.

The second circuit we constructed involved us adding a pressure sensor to our previous circuit. Then, after inputting an Arduino code for pressure sensing provided to us by Professor Mikesell, we connected a syringe to the open end of the valve with plastic tubing. By using the syringe and a serial monitor we were able to look at and calculate the air pressure/the change in air pressure. The maximum pressure we reached was a little over 30 which is supposedly about the highest you can reach. You can see some video of this below.

Credits to Maya Williams for photos/video


// Code to Control Valve
void setup() {
 // initialize digital pin LED_BUILTIN as an output.
 pinMode(6, OUTPUT);

// the loop function runs over and over again forever
void loop() {
 digitalWrite(6, HIGH); // turn the LED on (HIGH is the voltage level)
 delay(10000); // wait for a second
 digitalWrite(6, LOW); // turn the LED off by making the voltage LOW
 delay(1000); // wait for a second

//Pressure sensor code

#include "Wire.h"
#include <Arduino.h>

#define sensor_I2C 0x28 // each I2C object has a unique bus address, the DS1307 is 0x68
#define OUTPUT_MIN 1638.4 // 1638 counts (10% of 2^14 counts or 0x0666)
#define OUTPUT_MAX 14745.6 // 14745 counts (90% of 2^14 counts or 0x3999)
#define PRESSURE_MIN 14.5 // min is 0 for sensors that give absolute values
#define PRESSURE_MAX 100 // 1.6bar (I want results in bar)
float psi = 0; // 14.5 psi is pressure at sea level

void setup()
 Wire.begin(); // wake up I2C bus
 delay (500);

void loop()
 float pressure, temperature;
 //send a request
 Wire.beginTransmission(sensor_I2C); // "Hey, CN75 @ 0x48! Message for you"
 Wire.write(1); // send a bit asking for register one, the data register (as specified by the pdf)
 Wire.endTransmission(); // "Thanks, goodbye..."
 // now get the data from the sensor
 delay (20);

Wire.requestFrom(sensor_I2C, 4);
 while (Wire.available() == 0);
 byte a = Wire.read(); // first received byte stored here ....Example bytes one: 00011001 10000000
 byte b = Wire.read(); // second received byte
 byte c = Wire.read(); // third received byte stored here
 byte d = Wire.read(); // fourth received byte stored here

byte status1 = (a & 0xc0) >> 6; // first 2 bits from first byte
 //Serial.println(status1, BIN);

int bridge_data = ((a & 0x3f) << 8) + b;
 int temperature_data = ((c << 8) + (d & 0xe0)) >> 5;

 temperature = (temperature_data * 0.0977) - 50;

 Serial.print("PSI ");

Serial.print("temperature (C) ");

delay (500);

Tyler Roman- Inflatables Lab 4 (Mikesell)

The point of this lab was to create an inflatable dome which I did along with partners Maya Wang and Matthew Couch.

The materials used were a large sheet of plastic, scissors, cardboard, tracing paper, a marker, and a handheld iron.

1Then, using http://www.domerama.com/calculators/cover-pattern/ we calculated the dimensions for the gores and created a template using the cardboard. The Template was then used to create 8 corresponding gores that would be used to make the dome.



Once the side gores were completed and the resulting dome was flipped inside out we then made a base for the dome, using two pencils and a ruler to trace a circle onto another sheet of plastic. The base was then ironed onto the gores while a small opening was left for inflation. Finally, we took some leftover plastic and fashioned an inflation straw. Once the straw was done it was secured to the dome with tape since the awkward shape was not conducive to heat sealing. The dome blew up well even though the end shape vaguely resembled a soup dumping or perhaps a breast.




Tyler Roman- Inflatables Lab 3 (Mikesell)

For the second lab, we made McKibben Air Muscle actuators using balloons, a syringe, plastic tubing, some net, some zip ties.

My partners for this project were Maya Williams and Matthew Couch.

To create the muscle the balloon was strung through the net tubing by slowly inching it and pulling it through. Then one end of the joined balloon and the net tube was closed off with zip ties. The other end of the opening was attached to the plastic tube and then connected to the syringe. The final step tie of the opening with the tube using yet another zip tie. Once the muscle was completed it could be tested by using the syringe to pump air into the muscle.


Once each group was finished with their muscle we all connected our muscles to this sculpture created by Professor Mikesell and took turns inflating them causing the sculpture to bend in different directions.


Video of the working sculpture. Credits to Maya Williams

Tyler Roman- Inflatables Lab 2/Assignment 04 (Mikesell)

For this lab, Professor Mikesell brought us through the basics of creating 3D models using the Computer Assisted Design (CAD) software Fusion360 from Autodesk.

We practiced creating shapes and extruding them, hollowing and shelling them, and creating holes as seen below.

Then for the last part of the lab/the weekly assignment Professor Mikesell instructed us to create a bouncy castle.

Or rather a bouncy-castle-ish space. However, I just made a rather generic bouncy castle house as I thought that was assigned. Overall I am quite happy with the way it turned out and got quite a bit of practice sketching, extruding, filleting, and shelling various surfaces.

Tyler Roman- Toy Design Assignment 04 (Godoy)

So the documentary Objectified brought some really deep and insightful looks into the world of design. The ones that resonated with me the most were that ever item holds a story, the idea of good design, sustainability, and the paradox of evolving design.

The thought that every item, every design holds a story is something I have often experienced, yet never truly realized. There were many times that I would make or adjust something and every time I did so for a reason. Whether it be an incident that sparked my curiosity or a dissatisfaction with some aspect there was always a sense of I could better or I could do similar and upon having this realization and looking around me I see how a similar story could be told for almost every piece of merchandise from food to furniture. Thoughts of: what if you used this kind of oil, or these spices, or this wood, can be seen everywhere and indeed the situation lends itself to imagine the countless stories that were had and even more so when you realize how many of those stories  were completed without producing a complete product like the ones you might see around you.

To think of good design brings me to the topics of evolving design and sustainability. The paradox that exists is one that states that as design evolves it would make sense to produce items with better. cheaper, or more conservative, renewable materials or in ways that are more ergonomic or beneficial to the human race. And yet such products are seldom ever sold for below their predecessor’s price. Instead, such reasons are used to increase the price, essentially putting progress behind a paywall and to me, that itself becomes a question of good design, a question that exists in such large amounts in our world and yet remains largely unthought of and unanswered.

Tyler Roman- Toy Design Research Presentation (Godoy)

Group Members: Tyler Roman, Maya Wang, Killian Hauser, Maike Prewett

Link to my presentation

Link to the  group presentation

For the research project, I decided to research Transformers, autonomous transforming robots from the planet Cybertron, while also being super cool toys that I loved from my childhood. In my presentation, I related the Transformers to the Play Pyramid and using the Pyramid offered a deeper look and analysis of the popularity and social impact of Transformers. Essentially I stated that because Transformers cover many different aspects of the play pyramid, as well as combining many of the winning parts from other toys (dolls, cars, animals, etc.) under a new and unique gimmick, they created a winning formula that firmly anchored the Transformer as one of the most popular and recurring toys to this day.

In terms of the group presentation, I focused more on “Play Makes Us Human I: A Ludic Theory of Human Nature” and related to how surprising I found it that play was integral to competition and thus how play existed as one of the major cornerstones and foundation of social order. And in the end, I fully agree with my group’s conclusion on the importance of play as a fundamental part of both life and society.


Tyler Roman- Toy Design Assignment 03 (Godoy)

So this week in class we learned a bit about crocheting and electro amigurumi, all in all, crocheting was a lot of fun and pretty cool to learn. Thinking ahead I might like to use crocheting in my midterm project if I can get sufficiently good at it, however, for today I focused mainly on using the example material Marcela gave us, practicing the basic patterns and creating curves. I was not able to figure out how to start making a sphere, but I am sure there are some good videos online on how to progress further into the world of character creation and crochet.