Squishy inflatable tubes could make programmable soft robots

Springer Nature / BrunLab@Princeton University

Inflatable squishy tubes could be used to build soft robots that move when air is pushed through them.

Robotic hands made from metal frequently end up crushing delicate objects like fruit when trying to pick them up, so researchers often experiment with making them out of gentler materials. Pierre-Thomas Brun at Princeton University and his colleagues have found that soft, inflatable tubes may just do the trick.

The team filled various moulds with a rubber-like material called polyvinyl siloxane that starts off liquid but becomes solid and elastic as time passes. While the material was still fluid, the researchers pushed…

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