Soft Robot With Microfluidic Logic Circuit

Perhaps our future overlords won’t be made up of electrical circuits after all but will instead be soft-bodied like ourselves. However, their design will have its origins in electrical analogues, as with the Octobot.

The Octobot is the brainchild a team of Harvard University researchers who recently published an article about it in Nature. Its body is modeled on the octopus and is composed of all soft body parts that were made using a combination of 3D printing, molding and soft lithography. Two sets of arms on either side of the Octobot move, taking turns under the control of a soft oscillator circuit. You can see it in action in the video below.

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Robotic Octopus To Take Over The Seas

Much of robotics has been advanced by recreating animals movements – Why reinvent the wheel when nature got it right first? But have you seen many aquatic creatures movements re-imagined with mechanical linkages? The Foundation for Research and Technology-Hellas (FORTH) has recently presented their robotic octopus at the International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems.

The eight armed (or is it legged?) roboctopus was based on of a real octopus which have a really cool method of propulsion which allows them to move at speeds of up to 40km/h. The researchers in Greece created slim silicon arms to recreate this movement, allowing their robot to propel itself at speeds of around 10cm/s — after adding webs to the arms, they were able to almost double its top speed to 18cm/s, or one-half its body length per second.

The cool thing about the bot is that other marine wild-life seem relatively unperturbed by it, which could open up many possibilities in underwater research!

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