Jun 19, 2017

Researchers build first deployable, walking, soft robot

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, space

(Phys.org)—Researchers have built the first robot made of soft, deployable materials that is capable of moving itself without the use of motors or any additional mechanical components. The robot “walks” when an electric current is applied to shape-memory alloy wires embedded in its frame: the current heats the wires, causing the robot’s flexible segments to contract and bend. Sequentially controlling the current to various segments in different ways results in different walking gaits.

The researchers expect that the ’s ability to be easily deployed, along with its low mass, low cost, load-bearing ability, compact size, and ability to be reconfigured into different forms may make it useful for applications such as space missions, seabed exploration, and household objects.

The scientists, Wei Wang et al., at Seoul National University and Sungkyunkwan University, have published a paper on the new robot and other types of deployable structures that can be built using the same method in a recent issue of Materials Horizons.

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