Soft Robots Resemble An Octopus
A squishy autonomous soft robot first of its kind that’s powered by hydrogen peroxide is created by a team of Harvard scientists called Octobot. In one of the articles published in the journal Nature suggests that the soft robots resemble very closely to an Octopus. It is made out of flexible materials and stands two centimeters tall.
In general, we all are familiar with the rigid structures, ones with hard skeletons or with rigid moving parts. The Octobot is based on a different idea altogether, paving the way to further exploration on soft robotics.
Robot Woods one of the authors of the study speaking to the media said “The struggle has always been in replacing rigid components like batteries and electronic controls with analogous soft systems and then putting it all together. This research demonstrates that we can easily manufacture the key components of a simple, entirely soft robot, which lays the foundation for more complex designs.”
The body shape of the Octobot resembles an Octopus, It is 3D printed along with its circuits and motors. Presently a machine is used to control the Octobots autonomous mobility. However, further improvements are desired from the researchers, who have a vision of creating future Octobots that can crawl, walk and flop on their own
The soft robots are powered by 50 percent hydrogen peroxide solution. This concentration of hydrogen peroxide solution is much stronger than the consumer product available over the counter.
Michael Wehner of the Wood Lab and co-author of the study said “Fuel sources for soft robots have always relied on some type of rigid components. The wonderful thing about hydrogen peroxide is that a simple reaction between the chemical and a catalyst — in this case platinum — allows us to replace rigid power sources,”
Roboticist Barry Trimmer, fees Autonomous soft robots are useful in homes and other natural environments as they are “more robust, safe and biocompatible than current robots.” In his opinion, it is an ingenious approach to building and controlling a completely soft robot. He thinks the Octobot is an inspiration for those of us trying to make better and safer robots.