3D-printed soft, four-legged robot can walk on sand
Researchers led by
According to the UCSD, the legs of the robot are made up of three parallel, connected sealed inflatable chambers or actuators, 3D-printed from a rubber-like material.
The chambers are hollow on the inside, so they can be inflated. On the outside, the chambers are bellowed, which allows engineers to better control the legs' movements.
The breakthrough was made thanks to a high-end printer that allows researchers to print both soft and rigid materials within the same components.
"The idea came from nature. In nature, complexity has a very low cost," Tolley said. "Using new manufacturing techniques like 3D printing, we're trying to translate this to robotics."