Manufacturing & Prototyping
Octobot: First Autonomous, Untethered, Entirely Soft Robot
A team of Harvard University researchers with expertise in 3D printing, mechanical engineering, and microfluidics has demonstrated the first autonomous, untethered, entirely soft robot. This small, 3D-printed robot - called the 'octobot' - could pave the way for a new generation of such machines. Through their hybrid assembly approach, the research team was able to 3D print each of the functional components required within the soft robot body, including the fuel storage, power, and actuation, in a rapid manner. The octobot is pneumatic-based, and so is powered by gas under pressure. A reaction inside the bot transforms a small amount of liquid fuel (hydrogen peroxide) into a large amount of gas, which flows into the octobot's arms and inflates them like balloons.