Researchers develop untethered, autonomous soft robot

September 4, 2014, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc
Credit: Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers

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 flames. Harvard advanced materials chemist George Whitesides, PhD and colleagues describe the mobile, autonomous robot they have created in Soft Robotics.

In "A Resilient, Untethered Soft Robot," Michael Tolley, PhD and a multidisciplinary team of coauthors from the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, and Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, at Harvard University (Cambridge, MA), and the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Cornell University (Ithaca, NY), detail the innovative composite materials, design features, and fabrication methods they used to develop a soft robot capable of functioning for several hours using a battery pack or for longer periods with a light-weight electrical tether, and able to carry payloads of up to 8 kg.

"This paper marks the emergence of soft robot technology from the research lab into the real world," says Editor-in-Chief Barry A. Trimmer, PhD, who directs the Neuromechanics and Biomimetic Devices Laboratory at Tufts University (Medford, MA).

Explore further: Robotic fish designed to perform escape maneuvers

More information: The article is available on the Soft Robotics website.

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 ...

Printed inchworm robot makes self-assembly moves (w/ Video)

May 9, 2013

(Phys.org) —A team from Harvard and MIT presented their work at the 2013 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) in Germany. Their contribution: "Robot Self-Assembly by Folding: A Printed Inchworm ...

Recommended for you

After a reset, Сuriosity is operating normally

February 23, 2019

NASA's Curiosity rover is busy making new discoveries on Mars. The rover has been climbing Mount Sharp since 2014 and recently reached a clay region that may offer new clues about the ancient Martian environment's potential ...

Study: With Twitter, race of the messenger matters

February 23, 2019

When NFL player Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial injustice, the ensuing debate took traditional and social media by storm. University of Kansas researchers have ...

Researchers engineer a tougher fiber

February 22, 2019

North Carolina State University researchers have developed a fiber that combines the elasticity of rubber with the strength of a metal, resulting in a tougher material that could be incorporated into soft robotics, packaging ...

A quantum magnet with a topological twist

February 22, 2019

Taking their name from an intricate Japanese basket pattern, kagome magnets are thought to have electronic properties that could be valuable for future quantum devices and applications. Theories predict that some electrons ...

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.