People are used to the idea of ‘traditional’ robots, even human-like robots portrayed in movies, but now, with new technologies such as micro 3D printing and pneumatic pumps, the days of the traditional robot may be over?
The octobot robot, with it’s internal components built with 3D printing, is modeled after the inner workings of an octopus using silicon rubber, engineers at Harvard University are able to showcase how liquid pumps can used to move parts such as limbs, without the clunky need for hard metal joints, wires and cables.
Instead, micro pumps are used in the soft robot’s ‘brain’ and throughout it’s body that directs the flow of liquid fuel which controls movement, this is accomplished by pressure-activated switches and valves. It looks very rudimentary, but it works, and scientist have plans to bring the design up to speed so that it can be integrated with other technologies that will allow for greater control and movement.
It is very interesting to see where soft robots will go from here, no doubt, this new technology can help humans overcome the many physical limitation of current orthotics, time will tell.
Source – Nature