Here’s one bot we definitely have a soft spot for. researchers at Harvard university have created the world’s first entirely soft robot capable of moving around under its own steam.
Dubbed ‘octobot’ for obvious reasons, the robot is around the size of an SD memory card and is able to move its limbs pneumatically by transforming liquid hydrogen peroxide fuel into a much larger volume of gas. this gas flows from a central reservoir into the bot’s arms, inflating them like a balloon and allowing it to move its limbs without the need for rigid electronic components such as batteries and circuit boards.
“one long-standing vision for the field of soft robotics has been to create robots that are entirely soft, but the struggle has always been in replacing rigid components like batteries and electronic controls with analogous soft systems and then putting it all together,” explained researcher robert Wood.
“this research demonstrates that we can easily manufacture the key components of a simple, entirely soft robot, which lays the foundation for more complex designs.”
each part of the robot was custom designed and put together using a combination of various moulding and 3D printing techniques and is simple to assemble.
“this research is a proof of concept,” said researcher ryan truby. “We hope that our approach for creating autonomous soft robots inspires roboticists, material scientists and researchers focused on advanced manufacturing.”
the team is now working on creating an octobot that can crawl, swim and interact with its environment.