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Researchers Develop Soft Robot That Shifts from Land to Sea with Ease

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soft robot in roll mode

Actuators allow the reconfigurable robot to curl its body to swiftly roll away.

Credit: Morphing Matter Lab

Soft robots developed by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University can transition from walking to swimming or crawling to rolling, shifts found in most animals.

The researchers created a bistable actuator using three-dimensionally printed soft rubber with alloy springs that contract in response to electrical currents, allowing the actuator to bend. The robot remains in the new shape until it reverts to its previous configuration in response to another electrical charge. Only a hundred milliseconds of electrical charge is needed to change shape.

The researchers created robots that can walk and swim, crawl and jump, and crawl and roll.

"Our bistable actuator is simple, stable and durable, and lays the foundation for future work on dynamic, reconfigurable soft robotics," says Dinesh K. Patel, a post-doctoral fellow in CMU's Morphing Matter Lab.

From Carnegie Mellon University
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Abstracts Copyright © 2023 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA


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