Flexible Feet Help Robots Walk 40 Percent Faster
Researchers at the UC San Diego have created flexible feet that can help robots walk up to 40 percent faster on uneven terrain like pebbles and wood chips. The feet are flexible spheres made from a latex membrane filled with an interesting material: coffee grounds. The feet allow robots to walk faster and grip better because of a mechanism called granular jamming that allows granular media (like coffee grounds) to go back and forth between behaving like a solid and behaving like a liquid. The technology has applications in search-and-rescue missions and space exploration.