A Soft Caterpilliar Robot : Robotapillar

by Engineer's Planet

Source: https://newatlas.com/robotics/robotopillar-modular-caterpillar-origami-robot/

If a soft-bodied robot uses hard actuators to move its body, is it really soft further? An experimental new caterpillar-inspired bot solves this dilemma by squirming and steering its way into the world with soft, collapsible origami segments .The contraption, known as the Roboto pillar, was developed in conjunction by engineers from Princeton and North Carolina State universities.

They combined traditional paper folding techniques with modern materials science to develop a soft robot that can easily bend and twist its way through mazes. Soft robots can be difficult to direct since steering equipment frequently adds rigidity and reduces flexibility. According to Tuo Zhao, a postdoctoral researcher, the new design addresses these issues by integrating the steering mechanism directly into the robot’s body

Zhao claimed that the technology can function as a single robot or as a swarm because of the robot’s capacity to combine and split up while moving. “Each segment can be an individual unit, and they can communicate with each other and assemble on command,” he stated. “They can separate easily, and we use magnets to connect them.”

It (or its descendants) may someday be used in applications such as searching for survivors buried beneath rubble at disaster sites, or perhaps exploring the surface of other planets. Its modular body is made up of a series of magnetically attached parts. These parts can split apart and move about as a collaborative “swarm” if necessary. However, for the majority of applications, they would remain linked in a caterpillar-like configuration.



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