New Soft Robots: A Leap Forward in Robotics

In the realm of robotics, researchers have made a significant stride with the development of a new soft robot design. This post will delve into this innovative design, which engages in three simultaneous behaviors: rolling forward, spinning like a record, and following a path that orbits around a central point.

Understanding the New Soft Robot Design

The new soft robots, called twisted ringbots, are made of ribbon-like liquid crystal elastomers that are twisted and then joined together at the end to form a loop that resembles a bracelet. When the robots are placed on a surface that is at least 55 degrees Celsius (131 degrees Fahrenheit), which is hotter than the ambient air, the portion of the ribbon touching the surface contracts, while the portion of the ribbon exposed to the air does not. This induces a rolling motion; the warmer the surface, the faster the robot rolls.

The Three Simultaneous Behaviors

The twisted ringbot engages in three simultaneous behaviors:

  1. Rolling Forward: The ribbon rolls on its horizontal axis, giving the ring forward momentum.
  2. Spinning Like a Record: The twisted ringbot also spins along its central axis, like a record on a turntable.
  3. Following a Path That Orbits Around a Central Point: As the twisted ringbot moves forward, it travels in an orbital path around a central point, essentially moving in a large circle.

The Impact of the New Soft Robot Design

The new soft robot design holds promise for developing soft robotic devices that can be used to navigate and map unknown environments. The twisted ringbots are examples of devices whose behavior is governed by physical intelligence, meaning their actions are determined by their structural design and the materials they are made of, rather than being directed by a computer or human intervention.

Resources for Further Exploration

For those interested in learning more about the new soft robot design, here are some resources:

  • ScienceDaily’s Article: A comprehensive resource that provides an in-depth look at the new soft robot design and its capabilities.
  • TechXplore’s Article: An article that discusses the introduction of the new soft robot design and its potential impact on the future of robotics.

In conclusion, the new soft robot design represents a significant leap forward in the field of robotics. Its ability to engage in three simultaneous behaviors could pave the way for more advanced and useful robotic applications in the future. 

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