11/04/2021 at 17:00 •
The mobile versions of the tutorial pages were in really bad shape, and have now been fixed to read properly on a mobile device. If you find any other pages on the website whose mobile version needs improvement, let me know to take care of it.
I have now started developing another module for the FlowIO platform that would replace the AnalogIn16 module. This new design would also incorporate a Wheatstone bridge and a differential amplifier so that it is suitable even for measuring very small changes in resistance - which are typical for strain gauges.
I have now added a ChangeLog page to the website, where I will be posting the latest updates on the project. I will usually be updating this page at the end of each month to post all the updates that have happened during the past month. https://www.softrobotics.io/changelog
- 10/30/2021 at 21:43 • 0 comments
10/28/2021 at 18:17 •
If you haven't seen it yet, take a look at this MIT News article just published this month (+ video) of project OmniFiber, in which we use FlowIO for the control system.
10/03/2021 at 03:25 •
The latest CAD files for FlowIO have now been released and are available for download in the open-source 3MF file format! You can download the new files in chapter 2 of https://www.softrobotics.io/flowio
Here is one of the numerous articles about why 3MF is so great https://blog.prusaprinters.org/3mf-file-format-and-why-its-great_30986/
This latest update of the enclosure now features a notch that securely connects the main module to any of the pump modules. Previously, the only mechanical connection between modules was the magnetic connector and the tubes that run on the sides. And this was not not enough, especially not in the case of the large pump module. But with this change, we now have a very strong connection between modules that would hold them together no matter how you turn and twist the FlowIO device.
This will be the last update to the CAD files, and there are no further updates intended on this front for the foreseeable future.
10/01/2021 at 13:43 •
Two new chapters have been added to the Make FlowIO tutorials series. Specifically, the assembly instructions for the Small and the Large pump modules are now present as chapters 11 and 13, respectively. Find all tutorials at https://www.softrobotics.io/flowio
Several of the preexisting chapters have been augmented and updated as well, better pictures have been added. Each tutorial now also features at the top a full list of the parts and supplies needed to complete the steps within it.
09/16/2021 at 15:17 •
The assembly instructions for the Medium Pump module have now been updated (https://www.softrobotics.io/flowio chapter 11) based on the latest enclosure designs. Notice that the battery is now placed underneath the pumps as opposed to behind them. Additionally, 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!
09/15/2021 at 12:46 •
The redesigning of the enclosures is now complete and the new STL files are available for download on the project website https://www.softrobotics.io/flowio under chapter 2. The latest enclosures have been greatly improved on their visual aesthetics and functional characteristics compared to the previous version.
- 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 just like the top edges, which was previously not possible with the earlier design. This makes the device much more comfortable to use when being worn.
- The new enclosures are 0.75mm taller.
- 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.
09/13/2021 at 14:44 •
Updated the Arduino API documentation to reflect the recently-developed power management APIs for FlowIO https://www.softrobotics.io/arduino-api
09/04/2021 at 05:56 •
During the past week, the enclosure design was greatly improved. The snap-fit joints have been completely reengineered and now the base covers for each module are held much more securely and firmly. There is almost no visible gaps now between the parts. And finally, with this new design, the bottom of the enclosure could now be filleted just like the top, making the device more pleasant to look at and more comfortable to wear.
Some further improvements are now also being made to the enclosure design, and new STL files will be posted on the softrobotics.io website by the end of next week when everything is completed.
08/20/2021 at 22:19 •
A huge number of updates have occurred just in the past 1.5 months:
- 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.