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Making robots out of pliable materials is a whole new challenge, made easier with the creation of the Soft Robotics Toolkit Website. Photo courtesy of Eliza Grinnell, Harvard SEAS.
Making robots out of pliable materials is a whole new challenge, made easier with the creation of the Soft Robotics Toolkit Website. Photo courtesy of Eliza Grinnell, Harvard SEAS.

Harvard Unveils a Toolkit for Soft Robots

If you’re interested in moving from hard to soft robots, Harvard University is now providing free instructions, guidelines, and starter code online.

The Soft Robotics Toolkit Website includes detailed information on how to build your own fluidic control board to operate soft actuators, which can easily perform movements that are challenging for traditional bots. The actuators for soft robots can often be fabricated cheaply, as well. Many are made by casting rubber in 3D-printed molds. Details on how to design, fabricate, model and test a few soft actuators can also be found on the site.

“The goal of the toolkit is to advance the field of soft robotics by allowing designers and researchers to build upon each other’s work,” says Conor Walsh, an assistant professor of mechanical and biomedical engineering at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

With case studies, parts lists, suggested retailers, and helpful video tips, the site is poised to spur a lot of development in the field.

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