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Published Online: 8 June 2023

SoRSS: A Soft Robot for Bio-Mimicking Stomach Anatomy and Motility

Publication: Soft Robotics
Volume 10, Issue Number 3


A human stomach is an organ in the digestive system that breaks down foods by physiological digestion, including mechanical and chemical functions. The mechanical function is controlled by peristaltic waves generated over the stomach body, known as antral contraction waves (ACW). The stomach's physiological digestion is essential to sustain nutrition and health in humans. Replicating the digestion process in a robot provides a test environment as an alternative solution to in vivo testing, which is difficult in practice. Stomach robots made of rigid rods and metal cylinders are unrealistic replicas to contract and expand like biological examples. With soft robotics technology, it is possible to translate biological behavior into an engineering context. Soft robotics introduce potential methods to replicate peristaltic waves and achieve a soft-bodied stomach simulator. This work presents a soft robotic stomach simulator's (SoRSS) concept, design, and experimental validation. A pneumatic bellows actuation for linear elongation and a ring of bellows actuation for circular contraction are proposed first. Multi-ring actuators are then arranged to form an SoRSS that generates ACW and antral contracting pressure (ACP). The SoRSS satisfies the specification of human stomach anatomy and motility and finally undergoes experimental validation using videofluoroscopy with the outcomes presenting the ACW, ACP, and the digestion phases during the actuation process. Those are compared with other medical studies to validate SoRSS functionality.

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Information & Authors


Published In

cover image Soft Robotics
Soft Robotics
Volume 10Issue Number 3June 2023
Pages: 504 - 516
PubMed: 36346277


Published online: 8 June 2023
Published in print: June 2023
Published ahead of print: 7 November 2022


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Ryman Hashem
Department of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering, The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand.
Shahab Kazemi
Department of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering, The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand.
Riddet Institute Centre of Research Excellence (CoRE), Palmerston North, New Zealand.
Martin Stommel
Riddet Institute Centre of Research Excellence (CoRE), Palmerston North, New Zealand.
Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand.
Leo K. Cheng
Riddet Institute Centre of Research Excellence (CoRE), Palmerston North, New Zealand.
Auckland Bioengineering Institute, The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand.
Weiliang Xu [email protected]
Department of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering, The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand.
Riddet Institute Centre of Research Excellence (CoRE), Palmerston North, New Zealand.


Address correspondence to: Weiliang Xu, Department of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering, The University of Auckland, 20 Symonds Street, Auckland 1142, New Zealand [email protected]

Author Disclosure Statement

No competing financial interests exist.

Funding Information

The research was supported in part by the Riddet Institute Centre of Research Excellence (CoRE), New Zealand.

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