People creating robots that resemble nature is nothing new, but engineers at Harvard University have made something spectacular – a completely soft bodied Octobot with zero batteries or wires that uses gas (and farts) to move. 🐙
Scientists made this adorable tiny bot by pouring silicone gels of varying stiffness into an octopus mold. A 3D printer finishes the legs. At its heart is a tiny circuit board like controller which ultimately controls its movements.
Wanna hear the fun part? The Octobot moves completely on its own, powered by gas. The controller at the bot’s center shunts liquid hydrogen peroxide through platinum reaction chambers in the legs, turning the fluid fuel into gas. The gas flows through the ‘tentacles’ and inflates the compartments inside the eight limbs.
The blueprint for this soft, autonomous robot was published in the journal Nature.
All that gas has to go somewhere! The team gave the robot small orifices so the gas has a place to escape. This makes sure the Octobot doesn’t burst leaving an ugly mess.
Now, I don’t want you thinking this little soft robot is running around the lab farting its way into the history books. According to the BBC, the circuit sets up an alternating movement, inflating four limbs at a time. So it is more of a twitching movement than a walking demonstration. But still very cool!
This exciting technology could pave the way toward more effective soft robots that could be used in search and rescue, exploration and to more safely interact with the fleshy world of humans.
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