Scientists from Harvard are creating a new generation of soft robots

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2019-06-05 09:30:08

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Scientists from Harvard are creating a new generation of soft robots

Soft robots could be the future of robotics, but right now they have a number of shortcomings in their design. For example, of the possibility of such machines is limited because of the need for wire management. In other words, they need to connect to external devices, tubes and hoses through which compressed air is supplied and managed. This can limit their functionality, for example, when used in space missions, search and rescue operations and other areas.

Soft robotics

A team from Harvard University outlined the first step in developing a new generation of soft robots. They developed a method that allows you to refuse the numerous wires and hoses and replace all is the only one entrance for compressed air. This not only greatly simplifies the machine design, but also makes it much easier. Breed about their development in the journal Soft Robotics.

"Before this study we were not able to create soft robots without independent control of each individual Executive part through separate channels and the supply line of compressed air. Thanks to our development of soft robots may become much more functional, but at the same time easier in terms of management," — says the senior author of the article in Soft Robotics, Nikolaos Vasios from the Harvard school of engineering and applied Sciences.

To simplify the design of the soft robot, they used the specificity of the phenomenon of fluid viscosity, a measure of fluidity. Imagine the water that needs to pass through a hollow straw. The thinner the straw, the more difficult the flow of water to pass through it. Harvard robotics under the guidance of Katia Bertoldi used the same principle, but with air. For this purpose they used different tube lengths and diameters. Single inlet supplies air to the feet of the robot through the tube, allowing you to resolve the further action of the machine. Each team has a unique "speed and volume of air flow" with its own set of tubes, so now do not need to perform very complex calculations supply the desired air pressure.

The Developers said that the test bot has the appearance of a simple cross-shaped four-legged object. Harvard robotics continue to improve, as the external air source to the apparatus is not created. According to experts, is a unique technological achievement. The simplicity and small size of parts can make the robot practical for all kinds of tasks.

"We first used the phenomenon of viscosity in soft robots. In this way, their design can become easier and easier," — says Bertoldi.

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