A weeding robot that can autonomously remove seedlings

The weeding robot developed by the researchers. Credit: Kotaniemi et al. Robotic systems are already being deployed in various settings worldwide, assisting humans with a highly diverse range of tasks. One sector in which robots could prove particularly advantageous is agriculture, where they could complete demanding manual tasks faster and more efficiently. Among the many […]

3D-printed mini-actuators can move small soft robots, lock them into new shapes

Schematic illustrations of the fully 3D-printed miniature sub-millimeter-thick soft hydraulic actuator (MSHA) integrated with the SME for shape morphing and shape locking. Credit: Advanced Materials (2024). DOI: 10.1002/adma.202402517 Researchers from North Carolina State University have demonstrated miniature soft hydraulic actuators that can be used to control the deformation and motion of soft robots that are […]

A better way to control shape-shifting soft robots

Reconfigurable soft robots. In this paper, we address challenges in controlling reconfigurable—or shape-shifting—robots, who can change their morphology to accomplish desired tasks. The figure illustrates a task where a circular robot needs to alter its body shape to fit within a confined chamber to manipulate the square cargo to the target point (right). We introduce […]

Scientists create robot snails that can move independently using tracks or work together to climb

a Morphological evolution from a snail to a snail robot. b Snails outdoors may climb onto another snail’s shell for various reasons. Inspired by this, snail robots can also interconnect with each other. c Comparative illustration of snail foot adhesion and snail robot connection mechanism under varying external forces. Credit: Nature Communications (2024). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-024-47788-2 […]

A miniature wireless robot that can effectively move through tubular structures

The wireless miniature flow-powered tube robot capable of navigating complex tubular environments. Credit: Chong Hong and Yingdan Wu. Robots have already proved to be promising tools to complete complex and demanding maintenance tasks. While engineers have developed a wide range of robots that could help to maintain and repair infrastructure, many of these robots need […]

Paper power: Origami technology makes its way into quadcopters

In this study, researchers developed a self-folding origami gripper that abruptly changes conformation when force is applied. By mounting this low-cost and biodegradable structure on top of a quadcopter, it is possible to hold onto and carry objects from one place to another in a convenient way. Credit: Hiroki Shigemune from Shibaura Institute of Technology; […]

A six-armed robot for precision pollination

Stickbug, the six-armed precision pollination robot tasked with autonomously navigating, mapping, and pollinating bramble flowers in a greenhouse. Each arm acts as an independent greedy agent that a referee oversees to resolve inter-agent conflicts. Credit: Smith et al. Over the past decades, dozens of animal species have become extinct, while thousands of others are now […]

Built-in bionic computing: Researchers develop method to control pneumatic artificial muscles

Artificial muscles control rich soft component dynamics by using them as a computational resource. Credit: KyotoU/MEDICAL FIG. Creating robots to safely aid disaster victims is one challenge; executing flexible robot control that takes advantage of the material’s softness is another. The use of pliable soft materials to collaborate with humans and work in disaster areas […]

Underwater robot pioneers new energy-efficient buoyancy control

Rafe Neathery. Credit: Jeff Fitlow/Rice University A remotely operated underwater robot built by a team of Rice University engineering students pioneers a new way to control buoyancy via water-splitting fuel cells. The device, designed and constructed at the Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen over the course of a year-long senior design capstone class, offers a more […]

Why can’t robots outrun animals?

Credit: Unsplash/CC0 Public Domain Robotics engineers have worked for decades and invested many millions of research dollars in attempts to create a robot that can walk or run as well as an animal. And yet, it remains the case that many animals are capable of feats that would be impossible for robots that exist today. […]

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