The soft four-legged robot, created by a team from the University of California, does not need any electronic circuit to work.
Soft robots have captured the attention of scientists and the most recent, created by a team from the University of California at San Diego, is particularly interesting: besides being powered by pressurized air, can move without the help of an electronic circuit.
According to the New Atlas, most of these robotic devices require electronic circuits, pumps and power sources to function, a feature that increases the cost and complexity of the final product.
The American university team was able to design a soft robot that is controlled by pneumatic circuits, dispensing with electronics.
This type of circuit consists of a system of cylindrical chambers that make up the four legs of the robot, which operate with oscillating valves that allow the entry and exit of pressurized air in certain sequences.
This phenomenon causes leg flexion, each with three degrees of movement and, when executed in the correct sequence, allows the robot to move across the floor. The pneumatic control circuits have been carefully designed to create a gait inspired by tartarugas sideneck.
The robot is equipped with simple mechanical sensors, small soft bubbles filled with fluid, placed at the end of the bars protruding from the body. When the bubbles are pressed (each time they encounter an obstacle, for example), the fluid triggers a valve that causes the robot change direction.
“This work represents a fundamental but significant step towards fully autonomous and non-electronic walking robots,” said Dylan Drotman, first author of the scientific article, published on February 17 in Science Robotics.
Applications for this soft robot include low-cost robotics for entertainment and toys, as well as applications in environments where electronics cannot function – from inside MRI machines to underground mines.
Liliana Malainho, ZAP //