Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed a robotic system that can "grow" in a way similar to how a young plant grows upward.
The robot is not a soft robot, so it can extend itself to reach up to a previously unreachable height, or through a gap in a hard-to-reach area, while maintaining the rigidity and strength required to support a gripper or other mechanism.
The robot uses a chain-like apparatus similar to a bicycle chain. The links of the chain are interlocking blocks that can "lock" into one another to form a rigid column, then "unlock" to return to a flexible state.
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Abstracts Copyright © 2019 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA
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