Science and Tech


A 'Lego-Like' Vacuum-Powered Robot Can Reassemble Into Other Machines

Soft robots require a bit of labor to create, but researchers have figured out a cheap way for homeowners, teachers and hobbyists to make their own.
Posted at 2:17 PM, Aug 30, 2017

These fleshy-looking body parts aren't for humans; they're actually the building blocks for a new soft robot.

A team of researchers built a set of robotic body parts from foam and silicone. And like Legos, the robot's parts are interchangeable and can be swapped to create a variety of tools.

For example, when the robot is equipped with suction cups, it can become an arm.

Those suction cups could also be used as feet. The same team created a caterpillar-like robot that can carry objects up a wall.

The vacuum-powered prototypes deflate parts of themselves to move around. If walking doesn't work, the robot can wiggle or roll.

The designers said their technology could be a cheap way for educators, researchers or hobbyists to experiment with soft robots.