Miniscule MultiFunctional Soft Robot Inspired by Peacock Spider

first_img When it comes to robots, size does matter: Researchers developed a new process for the creation of soft androids at the millimeter scale.A team from Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), and Boston University demonstrated their new technology with a robotic soft spider.Inspired by the millimeter-sized colorful Australian peacock spider, the cyborg is made from a single elastic material with body-shaping, motion, and color features.“The smallest soft robotic systems still tend to be very simple, with usually only one degree of freedom, which means that they can only actuate one particular change in shape or type of movement,” study co-author Sheila Russo said in a statement.An assistant professor at Boston University, Russo helped initiate the project as a postdoctoral fellow in Robert Wood’s group at the Wyss Institute and SEAS.“By developing a new hybrid technology that merges three different fabrication techniques,” she explained, “we created a soft robot spider made only of silicone rubber with 18 degrees of freedom, encompassing changes in structure, motion, and color, and with tiny features in the micrometer range.”“In the realm of soft robotic devices, this new fabrication approach can pave the way towards achieving similar levels of complexity and functionality on this small scale as those exhibited by their rigid counterparts,” according to Wood, co-leader of the Bioinspired Soft Robotics platform at Wyss and a professor with SEAS.“In the future,” he continued, “it can also help us emulate and understand structure-function relationships in small animals much better than rigid robots can.”Despite the creepy-crawly device’s 12 layers of elastic silicone, it has a sort of Flat Stanley effect; unlike the flashy insect it’s based on, the robot appears two-dimensional—until it starts to move.Part of the MORPH (Microfluidic Origami for Reconfigurable Pneumatic/Hydraulic) family, the soft spider contains a network of hollow microfluidic channels. Users can inject liquids into the bot to induce movement.“The MORPH approach could open up the field of soft robotics to researchers who are more focused on medical applications where the smaller sizes and flexibility of these robots could enable an entirely new approach to endoscopy and microsurgery,” Wyss Institute founding director and SEAS professor Donald Ingber said.The full study was published in the journal Advanced Materials. Stay on target Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.center_img Evan Rachel Wood Just As Disturbed by Humanoid Sophia As Everyone ElseMIT’s Thread-Like Robot Slides Through Blood Vessels In the Brain last_img

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