31 Mar '12, 6pm

Soft Robots for Hard Problems - IEEE Spectrum

Image: Whitesides Group Research/Harvard University Soft Star: A rubbery robotic gripper is actuated by air pressure. 27 March 2012—The word robot calls to mind images of C-3PO or the Terminator . But robots don’t necessarily need to be gleamingly metallic and hard-edged; some might even be downright squishy. That at least is the vision of some robotics researchers, including Carmel Majidi , assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, in Pittsburgh, and head of the school’s Soft Machines Lab . “Nature is just full of examples of functionality without any rigid parts,” Majidi said during the American Physical Society’s March meeting in Boston. Think of an octopus squeezing through a tight opening or a Venus flytrap snapping shut on an unwitting insect. Soft robots could be built from various types of rubber or silicone. Adam Stokes, a postdo...

Full article: http://spectrum.ieee.org/robotics/robotics-hardware/soft-...

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Image: Whitesides Group Research/Harvard University Soft Star: A rubbery robotic gripper is actuated by air pressure. 27 M...

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