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Tag Archives: soft robotics

These Robotic Grippers Have A Soft Touch

Did a robot pack your groceries? The day may not be far off when you’ll be able to answer that question with a yes – or maybe you’d rather just say, “affirmative.” That’s one of the goals engineers at Cambridge, Massachusetts based Soft Robotics seek to …

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Squishy Robot Fingers Collect Deep-Sea Coral

Soft robotic hands with squishy fingers gather deep-sea coral samples more gently than robotic arms, and in places human divers can't reach.

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Soft Robotics Update With Dr. Cagdas Onal

Seeking to explore potential applications for soft, deformable robots, a largely unexplored area of robotics engineering a Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) professor has secured nearly $600,000 in federal funding for two separate projects that could point toward practical uses in medicine, manufacturing, and disaster response.

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Soft electronics change the way robots can touch

Soft electronics are changing the way robots can touch. EPFL Scientists have developed a new soft robotic gripper -- made out of rubber and stretchable electrodes -- that can bend and pick up delicate objects like eggs and paper, taking robotics to a whole new level. (Photo credit: EPFL Alain Herzog)

Have you ever rubbed a balloon in your hair to make it stick to the wall? This electrostatic stickiness called electroadhesion may change robotics forever. EPFL scientists have invented a new soft gripper that uses electroadhesion: flexible electrode flaps that act like a thumb-index duo. It …

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‘Squishy’ robot fingers aid deep sea exploration

Soft robotic gripper is attached (lower left) to the remotely operated vehicle (ROV) as it is lowered into the Red Sea for a test dive. (Photo credit: Kevin Galloway, Wyss Institute at Harvard University)

During a 2014 talk on his exploration of deep-sea coral reefs, Baruch College marine biologist David Gruber showed a video of clunky robotic hands collecting fragile specimens of coral and sponges from the ocean floor. Harvard engineer and roboticist Robert J. Wood was in the audience …

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Remote Control for Soft Robots

This image shows a selective actuation of the side arms of a soft robot in a horizontal uniform magnetic field. (Photo credit: Sumeet Mishra, North Carolina State University.)

Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed a technique for using chains of magnetic nanoparticles to manipulate elastic polymers in three dimensions, which could be used to remotely control soft robots. The ability to control the motion of soft robots, coupled with their flexibility, gives …

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Will Soft Robots Speed Up?

These soft-robot actuators quickly convert a small input into a big output. (Photo credit: Credit: Johannes Overvelde/The Bertoldi Lab)

Researchers at Harvard have developed faster actuators that might speed up soft robots. Existing soft robots must move large amounts of liquid or gas, resulting in slow movements. The new approach takes advantage of snap-through instabilities: big changes that are instantly triggered by small changes. Normally, …

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Next-Gen Robotic Materials Will Autonomously Change to Suit Needs

This soft robot, developed at Correll Lab is made of an autonomous material that rolls using distributed control. (Photo credit: Correll Lab.)

Prosthetics with a realistic sense of touch. Bridges that detect and repair their own damage. Vehicles with camouflaging capabilities. Advances in materials science, distributed algorithms, and manufacturing processes are bringing all of these things closer to reality every day, says a new review written by Nikolaus …

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Soft Robotics Competitions Offer $10,000 in Prizes

There’s still time to sign up your team for the 2015 Soft Robotics Competitions! For the design competition, entrants are charged with creating a novel device using at least one of the tools available on Harvard’s Soft Robotics Toolkit Website. The entire robot doesn’t have to …

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Tiny, Internally Powered Robot Gripper for Biopsies

These little robots could one day make biopsies less invasive, or be used in micro-engineering. Photo courtesy of the American Chemical Society.

A self-folding, robotic microgripper could one day make biopsies less invasive. The star-shaped devices are made from a carefully assembled arrangement of a hydrogel (N-isopropylacrylamide-co-acrylic acid), a polymer (polypropylene fumarate), and magnetic nanoparticles. The soft hydrogel component swells in response to changes in light, acidity, and temperature. The polymer stiffens …

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Soft Robot from Harvard Inches Through Tubes

The way the fiber is woven around each segment of expandable, red tube impacts its function. Photo courtesy of Harvard University.

Roboticists often try to built machines capable of moving through very tight spaces that humans can’t access. A new video from Harvard University’s Biodesign Lab shows a machine with a lot of promise in this area: a soft bot that can inch its way through tubes. The …

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Octobot Swims in the Ocean without Scaring Fish

Inspired by Octopus vulgaris, this robot can move through the water at more than 7 inches per second. Photo courtesy of FORTH.

Researchers at the Foundation for Research and Technology in Heraklion, Greece created a robot modeled after an octopus to study the near-wake vortex patterns created by octopus limbs. Earlier this year, they put the robot in the Mediterranean Ocean and found the mechanical device left the fish …

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