Soft robotics is going fluid with an untethered soft robotic matter with passive control of shape morphing and propulsion. It has been a challenge for the robotics industry to come into terms with the mechanical difficulty of creative fluid-moving robots given that most, if not all, robots and androids that are built today is created from metal thus the inevitable metal and robust movements.
But that is about to change with the recent project of Arda Kotikian, Connor McMahan and other colleagues who has printed soft robotic matter composed of liquid crystal elastomer (LCE) bilayers with orthogonal director alignment and different noematic-to-isotropic transition temperatures (TNI) to form active hinges that interconnect polymeric tiles.
With this, the team has created a “passively controlled, untethered soft robotic matter that adopts task-specifics configurations on demand, including a self-twisting origami polyhedron that exhibits three stable configurations and a “rollbot” that assembles into a pentagonal prism and self-rolls in programmed responses to thermal stimuli.”
This is great news for the future of soft robotics!