via North Carolina State University
Inspired by the biomechanics of cheetahs, researchers have developed a new type of soft robot that is capable of moving more quickly on solid surfaces or in the water than previous generations of soft robots. The new soft robotics are also capable of grabbing objects delicately – or with sufficient strength to lift heavy objects.
“Cheetahs are the fastest creatures on land, and they derive their speed and power from the flexing of their spines,” says Jie Yin, an assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at North Carolina State University and corresponding author of a paper on the new soft robots.
“We were inspired by the cheetah to create a type of soft robot that has a spring-powered, ‘bistable’ spine, meaning that the robot has two stable states,” Yin says. “We can switch between these stable states rapidly by pumping air into channels that line the soft, silicone robot. Switching between the two states releases a significant amount of energy, allowing the robot to quickly exert force against the ground. This enables the robot to gallop across the surface, meaning that its feet leave the ground.
“Previous soft robots were crawlers, remaining in contact with the ground at all times. This limits their speed.”
The fastest soft robots until now could move at speeds of up to 0.8 body lengths per second on flat, solid surfaces. The new class of soft robots, which are called “Leveraging Elastic instabilities for Amplified Performance” (LEAP), are able to reach speeds of up to 2.7 body lengths per second – more than three times faster – at a low actuation frequency of about 3Hz. These new robots are also capable of running up steep inclines, which can be challenging or impossible for soft robots that exert less force against the ground.
These “galloping” LEAP robots are approximately 7 centimeters long and weigh about 45 grams.
The researchers also demonstrated that the LEAP design could improve swimming speeds for soft robots. Attaching a fin, rather than feet, a LEAP robot was able to swim at a speed of 0.78 body lengths per second, as compared to 0.7 body lengths per second for the previous fastest swimming soft robot.
“We also demonstrated the use of several soft robots working together, like pincers, to grab objects,” Yin says. “By tuning the force exerted by the robots, we were able to lift objects as delicate as an egg, as well as objects weighing 10 kilograms or more.”
The researchers note that this work serves as a proof of concept, and are optimistic that they can modify the design to make LEAP robots that are even faster and more powerful.
“Potential applications include search and rescue technologies, where speed is essential, and industrial manufacturing robotics,” Yin says. “For example, imagine production line robotics that are faster, but still capable of handling fragile objects.
“We’re open to collaborating with the private sector to fine-tune ways they can incorporate this technology into their operations.”
The Latest Updates from Bing News & Google News
Go deeper with Bing News on:
- Breakthrough biogel for soft robots is made of such safe ingredients you can (technically) eat iton June 23, 2020 at 6:24 am
Watching out for the environment is certainly something humans should take seriously. And as Wall-E proved, so should robots. Soft robotics is the new frontier behind the grippers, sensors, and even ...
- The Pop Culture Robots that Influenced Smart Voice Assistantson June 23, 2020 at 12:00 am
Last year, nearly one third of Australian adults owned a smart speaker device allowing them to call on “Alexa” or “Siri”. Now, with more time spent indoors due to COVID-19, smart voice assistants may ...
- From HAL 9000 to Westworld’s Dolores: the pop culture robots that influenced smart voice assistantson June 21, 2020 at 1:06 pm
In our paper published in New Media Society, we trace anxiety about smart assistants to a long history of threatening robot voices and narratives in Hollywood. The warm and solicitous female voices of ...
- Global Soft Robotics Market, Forecast to 2025: A $4.9+ Billion Opportunity Assessment - ResearchAndMarkets.comon June 19, 2020 at 8:09 am
Growth, Trends, and Forecast (2020-2025)" report has been added to ResearchAndMarkets.com's offering. The Global Soft Robotics Market was valued at USD 645.45 million in 2019 and is expected to reach ...
- Soft and ion-conducting hydrogel artificial tongue for astringency perceptionon June 18, 2020 at 7:04 am
Artificial tongues have received increased attention due to their ability to detect the five basic tastes, but until now scientists have been unable to fully enable human tongue-like biomimicry for ...
Go deeper with Google Headlines on:
Go deeper with Bing News on:
Search and rescue technologies
- Sonar Systems and Technology 2020 Global Market to Reach US$ 4,214.4 Million And Growing At CAGR Of 6.88% By 2025on June 19, 2020 at 2:08 am
The Sonar System and technology market is estimated to witness an incredible market lift during the study period. Sonar is an abbreviation of Sound Navigation and Ranging that used explores and maps ...
- U.S. Coast Guard utilizes new tracking tool, I-911 system for search and rescue caseson June 16, 2020 at 1:55 pm
The ‘search’ in search and rescue can take a long time. “You know especially during the summer months when we have a lot of tourists coming up who ...
- How Google's Plus Codes Can Play A Crucial Role In Rescue And Relief Operationson June 10, 2020 at 2:30 am
Plus codes are digital addresses derived from latitude and longitude coordinates. It is 'like a street address for people or places that don't have one'.
- UK spins up second phase of privatised search and rescue helicopter contracton June 9, 2020 at 8:30 am
In just over four years the UK could have three different firms running its search and rescue (SAR) operations using smaller helicopters than at present and calling on assets as diverse as unmanned ...
- Kongsberg Geospatial to use AI and Drones to enhance Search and Rescue Operations in Canadaon June 4, 2020 at 2:53 am
Ottawa, CA: Kongsberg Geospatial, developer of the TerraLens Geospatial SDK, and Larus Technologies of Ottawa, Canada, and the Civil Air Search and Rescue Association of Canada (CASARA), announced ...