Soft Robots for Hard Problems
27 March 2012—The word robot calls to mind images of C-3PO or the Terminator. But robots don’t necessarily need to be gleamingly metallic and hard-edged; some might even be downright squishy. That at least is the vision of some robotics researchers, including Carmel Majidi, assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, in Pittsburgh, and head of the school’s Soft Machines Lab.
“Nature is just full of examples of functionality without any rigid parts,” Majidi said during the American Physical Society’s March meeting in Boston. Think of an octopus squeezing through a tight opening or a Venus flytrap snapping shut on an unwitting insect. [Read More]