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Stanford Engineers Create Shape-Changing, Free-Roaming Soft Robot


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Overhead view of the isoperimetric robot grasping and handling a basketball.

Rsearchers from Stanford University and University of California, Santa Barbara have developed a human-scale soft robot that can reconfigure its shape to grasp and handle objects.

Credit: Farrin Abbott

Stanford University and University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) researchers have developed a human-scale soft robot that can reconfigure its shape to grasp and handle objects, as well as being able to roll in controllable directions.

The most basic iteration of this "isoperimetric robot" is an inflated tube running through three small machines that pinch it into a triangle form; although its shape dramatically changes, the total length of the edges and the amount of internal air do not.

The researchers can add complexity by attaching triangles together and coordinating the movements of different motors enables different behaviors.

Stanford's Allison Okamura said, "This research highlights the power of thinking about how to design and build robots in new ways."

From Stanford News
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