-The main concept fixating around soft robots is the attempt to bridge the gap between humans and these rigid-bodied systems that we now call robots. Biological systems have a simplicity about them that pose a couple advantages and challenges when working with them. It is important to remember that although soft robots are exciting and new, so are the methods that are used to control them.
-In the design and actuation process, the soft robot may be a mix between soft and hard rigidity, often ones that mimic biological materials. In actuation it is common to use, variable length tendons or pneumatic artificial muscles, or other methods of control like fluidic elastomers, and electroactive polymers. It is also possible to control the rigidity of materials through temperature.
-Soft robots use many conventional sensors like encoders, metal semi-conductors (strain gauges) and inertial measurement units.
-One of the bigger challenges that face soft robots is finding an adequate stretchable power source. Energy in the form of electrical, chemical and pressure can be utilized as power sources for actuation.
-Control of soft robots is not the same as control of rigid body movements, which can be described by the six degrees of freedom. Soft robots are more confined to motions like bend, twist, stretch, compress, buckle, wrinkle.. and so on. These bodies introduce compliance which is the ability to adapt shape and function to objects of the unknown.
-Overall Soft robots pose an interesting new area of development. They’re capable in different areas of performance when compared to strictly rigid body design, which leads to many interesting new applications. For me it I found the medical applications to be exciting as they could be used as a non-invasive form of surgery, which is pretty cool.
Interesting project idea things:
-Seems pretty inexpensive