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In recent years, soft robotics is widely considered as the most promising field for both research and application. First of all, the actuator is fundamental for designing, modeling, and controlling of soft robots. This paper presents a new type of pneumatic trunk-like soft actuator, which contains a chamber for stiffness adjustment in addition to three chambers for driving. Thus, the salient feature of the proposed actuator is the ability of stiffness self-regulation. The structure of the proposed actuator is described in detail. Then the theoretical models for elongation and bending motion of the actuator are established. The elongation as well as single-chamber and multi-chamber driving bending of the actuator were tested to verify the mathematical models. Finally, a dual-segment soft robot based on the proposed trunk-like soft actuator was developed and tested by experiments, which implies its potential application in practice.
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