The octobot is an entirely soft, autonomous robot. A pneumatic network, pink, is embedded within the octobot's body and hyperelastic actuator arms, light blue. It's squishy like Silly Putty, wireless, battery-less and made for pennies by a 3-D printer

The latest revolutionary robot isn't the metallic, costly machine you'd expect: It's squishy like Silly Putty, wireless, battery-less and made for pennies by a 3-D printer.
Meet Octobot. It looks like a tiny octopus and is designed to mimic that slithery creature to get through cracks and tight places, making it ideal as a rescue robot.
A team at Harvard University has created a robot — actually about 300 of them, since they are so cheap to make — that is opposite of the common view of a robot. 
Octobot is soft, not hard. Flexible not rigid. It's not mechanical, nor electrical. It's powered by fluids. 
The discovery is described, photographed and on video in the scientific journal Nature on Wednesday.

'It's sort of a hybrid between octopus and robot,' said study author Jennifer Lewis, a Harvard professor of biologically inspired engineering. 
'We've done something that nobody's been able to do.'
Soft robotics are important because 'you've got these hard mechanical objects and soft humans' and when they interact — or collide — it can be a problem, Lewis said. 

It looks like a tiny octopus and is designed to mimic that slithery creature to get through cracks and tight places, making it ideal as a rescue robot. It can be printed cheaply by the 3-D printer with the most costly part a really small bit of platinum
It looks like a tiny octopus and is designed to mimic that slithery creature to get through cracks and tight places, making it ideal as a rescue robot. It can be printed cheaply by the 3-D printer with the most costly part a really small bit of platinum

That's not the painful case with Octobot, which fits in the palm of a hand. It's softer and more adaptive, she said.
Here's a reality check: So far, all Octobot can do is wiggle a bit. It can't really even move along a table yet, so this is an 'extremely simple first step,' Lewis said. 
Initially it was supposed to be a spider, but the team wanted both swimming and crawling and it looked more like an octopus, Lewis said.
The idea is to make this something that is powered by a chemical reaction in fluids; fluid movement moves the arms and directs the robot's actions. 

It can be printed cheaply by the 3-D printer with the most costly part a really small bit of platinum. 
Aside from that it is essentially like bathroom caulk, 'a rubbery-type object,' Lewis said.
Outside robotic experts raved about the new squishy machine.
In an email, Tufts University professor Barry Trimmer called it 'an ingenious approach to building and controlling a completely soft robot.'
Daniela Rus at MIT said the discovery was what the soft robotics community has been looking for: 'The octopus robot is a first self-contained soft robot system whose components are all soft — it is a very beautiful machine.' dailymail


ENGINEERS CREATE TINY MUTANT ROBOTIC STINGRAY 

Researchers at the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, have shown off a new method for building bio-inspired robots using tissue engineering.
Based on the movement of batoid fish, which includes stingrays, the team has built a robo-ray measuring just 0.6 inches (16 millimetres) long and weighing just 0.4 ounces (10 grams).
They crafted neutrally-charged gold skeletons that mimic the stingray's shape, which were overlaid with a thin layer of stretchy polymer to give it flexibility and shrug off the water.

The robot, created by Harvard University, is based on the movement of batoid fish, which include stingrays. It is guided by light. Powered by rat heart solar cells the light guides it gracefully along the water.
The robot, created by Harvard University, is based on the movement of batoid fish, which include stingrays. It is guided by light. Powered by rat heart solar cells the light guides it gracefully along the water.

Along the top of the robotic ray, the researchers strategically aligned rat muscle cells, called cardiomyocytes. They used around 200,000 cardiomyocytes in total.
When stimulated, the cardiomyocytes contract the fins downward to begin the wave movement.
Because stimulating the fins to turn in an upward motion would require a second layer of cardiomyocytes, the researchers instead designed the gold skeleton in a shape that stores some downward energy, which is later released as the cells relax, allowing the fins to rise.
The muscle cells were genetically engineered to respond to light cues, enabling the researchers to control the robot's movement using pulses of light. dailymail

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