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
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.
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.
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.
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.'
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
That's not the painful case with Octobot, which fits in the palm of a hand. It's softer and more adaptive, she said.
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.
it was supposed to be a spider, but the team wanted both swimming and
crawling and it looked more like an octopus, Lewis said.
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
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.
an email, Tufts University professor Barry Trimmer called it 'an
ingenious approach to building and controlling a completely soft robot.'
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
ENGINEERS CREATE TINY MUTANT ROBOTIC STINGRAY
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.
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).
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 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.
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.
muscle cells were genetically engineered to respond to light cues,
enabling the researchers to control the robot's movement using pulses of