Why Robots That Bend Are Better


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Why Robots That Bend Are Better

Why Robots That Bend Are Better

On Thursday February 18th, 2021 the NASA Perseverance Rover will land on Mars. It is a wonderful robot, made out of steel and wire — but will future robots look like Perseverance? There is an emerging field of research on « soft robots », where the machines are flexible. These soft robots have many advantages over traditional robots — they’re safer, lighter, more flexible and can change their shape and size.

NASA is investigating the use of soft robots for space missions. For future visits to Enceladus or Europa, a lander could cut a hole in the ice and then insert a compliant robot through the hole. This robot could then grow and change shape on the other side.

References: N. S. Usevitch, Z. M. Hammond, M. Schwager, A. M. Okamura, E. W. Hawkes, S. Follmer, An untethered isoperimetric soft robot. Sci. Robot. 4,

https://ve42.co/Hammond2020 — paper about the truss robot

https://ve42.co/Usevitch2020 — press release and video about the truss robot

Electronics-free pneumatic circuits for controlling soft-legged robots

Dylan Drotman1, Saurabh Jadhav, David Sharp, Christian Chan, Michael T. Tolley Sci. Robot. 6, eaay2627 (2021)

https://ve42.co/Drotman — paper about the turtle robot


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