Soft Robot Grows Like a Plant to Explore Environment

Published by , July 24, 2017 12:45 pm

(ScienceNews)  A new prototype soft robot takes inspiration from plants by growing to explore its environment. Elliot Hawkes of the University of California in Santa Barbara and his colleagues designed a bot that works on similar principles as vines and some fungi that extend from their tips to explore their surroundings. Its mechanical body sits inside a plastic tube reel that extends through pressurized inflation, a method that some invertebrates like peanut worms (Sipunculus nudus) also use to extend their appendages. The plastic tubing has two compartments, and inflating one side or the other changes the extension direction. A camera sensor at the tip alerts the bot when it’s about to run into something.
The soft bot can extend up to 72 meters, and unlike plants, it can grow at a speed of 10 meters per second, the team reports

Tags: , ,