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Tag Archives: soft robots

WPI’s Berenson Receives IEEE Early Career Award

Dmitry Berenson, assistant professor of computer science at Worcester Polytechnic Institute has been awarded the 2016 Early Career Award by the IEEE-RAS.

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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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A Soft Material that Moves When Exposed to Light Could be Ideal for Robotics

When exposed to non-uniform light, the SP-BZ gel moves. This diagram shows how the material moves over time when only the ends are exposed to light. (Photo Credit: University of Pittsburgh)

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering have designed a synthetic polymer gel that can generate enough chemical energy to shape-shift and propel itself forward. The researchers modeled their research after the single-celled organism euglena mutabilis, which processes energy to expand and contract …

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Sensory-Active Skins for Robots

Shape-memory alloy threads are wrapped around foam to demonstrate how the sensory skin of a soft robot. On the left, the threads bend the foam into an L shape. On the right, the threads compress the foam. (Photo courtesy of Purdue University/Rebecca Kramer)

Researchers at Purdue University have built soft robots using shape-memory alloys (SMAs) woven into fabric. By orienting the alloy threads in different ways and wrapping it around foam blocks, the material can initiate movement. “Previous works have not combined both flexible sensors and actuators in their designs, usually …

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Harvard Unveils a Toolkit for Soft Robots

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.

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 …

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