Contrary to what you might expect, the newest robot model is not metallic or costly. Octobot is the robot with a soft side. It is soft and squishy, wireless, has no batteries and is cheaply 3-D printed.
Octobot looks like a small octopus and its unique design perfectly imitates the deep sea creature. This type of design helps the Octobot to make its way through cracks and tight spaces. That’s why it’s been crafted to be a rescue robot.
A team of experts from the Harvard University has made about 300 Ocotbots, as they are so cheap to create. It doesn’t look like the usual robot, with its soft, flexible tentacles, its mechanical nature and its fluid powered mechanics.
The invention is documented in the Nature scientific journal, as of this Wednseday.
Study author, Prof. Jennifer Lewis points out that the team achieved something completely new, never before attempted.
The development of soft robots is a good idea because robots are generally hard and human skin is soft. The interaction can sometimes be a problem. With Octobot, the octopus-like robot that fits in your palms, things get a lot more adaptive.
For now, the Octobot can’t do much. It can wiggle but it can’t move on a hard surface, like a table. It is only the first step – according to Lewis. The team is working on adding more functions, to make the robot more autonomous.
The prototype was going to be a spider, but the team wanted the robot to both swim and crawl, so it ended up looking like an octopus.
It works by using chemical reactions in fluid. It can be 3-D printed at low costs, aside from the small piece of platinum, which is the costliest component. All in all, it’s a lot like a kids’ bathroom toy, a rubbery object.
Daniela Rus, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology believes that the technology could be a first step in creating a more autonomous soft robot. It is a beautiful machine.
The new fluid technology of the octobot could turn out useful for surgeries and could have other medical implications too, like cutting edge prosthetics.
What’s your opinion on the Octobot? Would you buy such a toy? Leave a comment below. Thank you!
Image Source – Wikipedia