sábado, 19 de setembro de 2015

Researchers develop 3-D printed autonomous soft robot


One of the first 3-D printed, soft robots that moves autonomously has been developed

Harvard University engineers have developed one of the first 3-D printed, soft robots that moves autonomously.
Traditional industrial robots are rigid, mostly metal and fast, precise and powerful. But their speed and precision comes at the cost of complexity and can often pose a danger to humans who get too close. Soft robots are adaptable and resilient but slow, difficult to fabricate, and challenging to make autonomous because most motors, pumps, batteries, sensors and microcontrollers are rigid.
Harvard's soft robot's design offers a new solution to an engineering challenge that has plagued soft robotics: the integration of rigid and soft materials.
The robots body transitions from soft to hard, reducing the stress where the rigid electronic components join the body and increasing the robots resiliency. The bodys monolithic design--created in one continuous print job using several different materials--increases its strength and robustness. With no sliding parts or traditional joints, the robot isnt victim to dirt or debris like its more intricate cousins, making it a good candidate for use in harsh terrains.
The robots jumping ability and soft body would come in handy in harsh and unpredictable environments or disaster situations, allowing it to survive large falls and other unexpected situations.
This research was supported in part by a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) (grant DMR 1420570).
To learn more, see the NSF News From the Field story
Hopping towards a better soft robot. (Date of Image: 2015)

Credit: Harvard Microrobotics Lab

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