Soft robotic grippers non-destructively manipulate deep sea coral reef organisms

January 27, 2016
Credit: Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers

The first use of soft robotics in the deep sea describes the non-destructive interaction and sampling of fragile organisms in their natural environments. The design and grasping capabilities of these innovative soft robotic grippers and their successful use at deep sea depths are described in an article in Soft Robotics.

In "Soft Robotic Grippers for Biological Sampling on Deep Reefs," Kevin Gallaway and colleagues, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, University of Rhode Island, Narragansett, Haifa University, Israel, City University of New York, and American Museum of Natural History, NY, examine the potential for applying soft robotic technology to explore coral reefs, where diverse organisms with unique genetic adaptations reside. The researchers describe the ability to use compliant materials matched to to construct the robot's gripper arms, enabling the robot to interact with the soft, fragile organisms without harming or altering them.

"This paper is a milestone for soft robotic manipulation because it is one of the first to show the advantages of this approach in a real world application," says Editor-in-Chief Barry A. Trimmer, PhD, who directs the Neuromechanics and Biomimetic Devices Laboratory at Tufts University (Medford, MA). "We know there is a lot more to do before are commonplace but this paper is certainly leading the way."

Explore further: Can soft robots transform health care, gaming, and other fields?

More information: The article is available free for download on the Soft Robotics website until Feb. 27, 2016.

Related Stories

Robotic fish designed to perform escape maneuvers

March 13, 2014

A soft-bodied, self-contained robotic fish with a flexible spine that allows it to mimic the swimming motion of a real fish also has the built-in agility to perform escape maneuvers. The innovative design and capabilities ...

Researchers develop untethered, autonomous soft robot

September 4, 2014

Imagine a non-rigid, shape-changing robot that walks on four "legs," can operate without the constraints of a tether, and can function in a snowstorm, move through puddles of water, and even withstand limited exposure to ...

Jumping, roly-poly, untethered robot described

March 9, 2015

A novel, fully untethered soft robot capable of repeated jumping is able to cover half a meter in a single hop-and-roll motion. The innovative design of this combustion-powered robot, based on a roly-poly toy, and how it ...

'Squishy' robot fingers aid deep sea exploration

January 20, 2016

During a 2014 talk on his exploration of deep-sea coral reefs, Baruch College marine biologist David Gruber showed a video of clunky robotic hands collecting fragile specimens of coral and sponges from the ocean floor. Harvard ...

Recommended for you

Apple issues update after cyber weapon captured

August 26, 2016

Apple iPhone owners on Friday were urged to install a quickly released security update after a sophisticated attack on an Emirati dissident exposed vulnerabilities targeted by cyber arms dealers.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.