Princeton University researchers have found a new way to make soft robots by using “fancy balloons”. These “fancy balloons” are capable of changing shape when it is inflated with air. They have given the bubble casting to this method.
This new technique includes injecting bubbles into a liquid polymer and then let the material solidify itself in order to bend and move. The researchers are hopeful that their method will help to accelerate the development of soft robots.
Traditional rigid robots have multiple uses. But they are incapable of holing your hand and help you to move. They were not generated for doing soft stuffs.
Soft robots are made of flexible materials and that makes them eligible to do things that need soft touch. They can be extremely helpful in health care sector.
But there are some challenges in making soft robots such as designing a soft robot as the robots needs components to move in a flexible way. These components are known as actuators.
Bubble casting has a simple way to create actuators for soft robots by using the physics of fluids. A liquid polymer called elastomer and air is mixed up for creating a long bubble. Then the long bubble slowly rises to the top and the elastomer drains to the bottom.
The thickness of the elastomer and how quickly the elastomer settles to the bottom will decide how the actuator will move.
The scientists have successfully made star-shaped “hands” that can gently grip a blackberry.
They are also trying to find out how the robots would behave once it has inflated and then they will be able to create soft actuators with specific movements.
Bubble casting does not require any expensive tools such as 3D printers or laser cutters.
The team is also planning to use this method to create more complex actuators.