Latest in Science

Image credit:

Tiny pneumatic actuator makes soft robots practical

Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
October 19, 2015
Share
Tweet
Share

Sponsored Links

Soft robots that bend and stretch are cool concepts, but there's usually a lot of clunky hardware involved to make them work, like air compressors and gas generators. They're seldom practical in real life. However, Okayama University researchers have developed a tiny pneumatic actuator that should make those squishy automatons viable. The machinery changes pressure by turning water into hydrogen and oxygen (through a catalyst) in a matter of seconds, and reversing that process about as quickly. All it needs to get going is some electricity -- it doesn't require moving parts or vents, and it's effectively silent.

It's not certain how much progress scientists have made. They first wrote about the concept two years ago, and a recent demo video (below) only shows that it works, not that there's been significant development. If this advances further, though, you could see soft robots that look less like big blobs and more like the slick, flexible devices they're meant to be.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Comment
Comments
Share
Tweet
Share

Popular on Engadget

The 2020 Engadget Holiday Gift Guide

The 2020 Engadget Holiday Gift Guide

View
'Marvel's Avengers' hasn't turned a profit yet

'Marvel's Avengers' hasn't turned a profit yet

View
The best TV deals we could find for Black Friday

The best TV deals we could find for Black Friday

View
'Star Wars Squadrons' next-gen update packs 4K, 120 FPS tweaks

'Star Wars Squadrons' next-gen update packs 4K, 120 FPS tweaks

View
CD Projekt Red shows off 'Cyberpunk 2077' next-gen gameplay

CD Projekt Red shows off 'Cyberpunk 2077' next-gen gameplay

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr