A soft robot that can crawl across surfaces and under obstacles has been created by a Cambridge, Massachusetts based team.
Led by chemist George Whitesides of Harvard University, the team’s robot eschews the hard joints, hydraulics and motors of current robot technology in favour of low pressure air.
Inspired by starfish, squid and worms, their squishy four-armed creation lacks any kind of skeleton. Instead, air is pumped through valves and tubes made of elastomeric polymers to one of five pneumatic sections. By alternatively inflating and deflating the four leg ‘pneu-nets’ and the fifth body section, the robot can move at a stately 13 metres per hour