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Your location: Home > Related Articles > Inspired by insects, scientists have developed “flexible skeleton” robots

Inspired by insects, scientists have developed “flexible skeleton” robots

Author:QINSUN Released in:2024-01 Click:32

Soft robots have many advantages, such as being able to squeeze through gaps or survive when stepped on by people. So far, they are usually hand assembled in one go. However, this situation may change due to the emergence of a new manufacturing method.

This technology was developed by scientists at the University of California, San Diego, inspired by the exoskeleton of insects. Although we may think that these exoskeletons are like armor, in fact, they are rigid in some places (for structural support) and flexible in others (for elasticity and mobility).

The system at the University of California, San Diego has also produced so-called "flexible bones" that combine rigidity and flexibility. This is achieved by 3D printing the polymer layer onto a thin and elastic polycarbonate board. By adjusting the printing process, the polymer can become flexible where needed - so it can bend together with the polycarbonate matrix - but exhibits varying degrees of rigidity in other areas.

According to reports, a small flexible skeleton can be made using a regular 3D printer, with a cost that is only a small fraction of the cost required to create this structure. Then, this skeleton base can be paired with electronic components similar to LEGO to form a complete robot.

Currently, printing and assembling such robots takes less than two hours. However, scientists are currently developing a fully automated assembly line to manufacture entire swarms of robots that will work together to search for survivors at disaster sites. "We hope that these flexible bones can lead to the creation of a new type of soft, biologically inspired robot," said Professor Nick Gravish, senior author of the research paper. "We hope to make it easier for researchers around the world to manufacture soft robots."

This paper was recently published in the journal Soft Robotics.