Soft Hydraulic Valve


Technology Description


This soft 3D printed electrorheological (ER) valve weighs less than 10 grams and allows for onboard actuation control, enabling an entirely soft controllable robot. The soft ER valve pressure holding capabilities have been tested under unstrained conditions, cyclic valve activation, and the strained conditions of bending, twisting, stretching, and indentation. The valve has been shown to function properly under very high strain conditions. The valve can be made with a variety of polymers as well as various conductive fluids and ER fluids, making it suitable for a number of applications.


Features & Benefits


  • Fully compliant valve
  • Functions under high strain
  • 3D printable




  • Soft robotics
  • Actuation under high strain
  • Microfluidics
  • Automotives


Background of Invention


Soft robots are designed to utilize their compliance and contortionistic abilities to both interact safely with their environment and move through it in ways a rigid robot cannot. To more completely achieve this, the robot should be made of as many soft components as possible. Soft robots often utilize pneumatics or hydraulics to actuate movement, with fluid controlled by valves that have rigid components. The rigidity of inflexibility of existing valves limits the applications of soft robots. This device is a completely soft hydraulic valve comprised of a 3D printed flexible polymer, compliant electrodes, and a an electrorheological working fluid.




provisional patent application filed


Patent Information:
Tech ID:
David Dickson
IP & Licensing Manager
Oregon State University
Yigit Menguc
Alexander Zatopa
Stephanie Walker
Compliant Valve
Soft Robotics
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