Harvard’s Octobot is the first autonomous machine to be made with all soft robotics

2016_rt_mw_octobot_001For years roboticists have been looking into using softer materials for parts rather than the usual metal and plastic — sometimes even building entirely soft robots. But this Octobot from Harvard is the first that not only contains no hard parts but is also entirely autonomous.

Robert Wood and Jennifer Lewis, both at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, describe the Octobot in a paper published today in Nature. The creation won’t be winning any awards for agility, but given that autonomy is generally created by a computer governing a robot’s movements, this is a significant milestone.

“The struggle has always been in replacing rigid components like batteries and electronic controls with analogous soft systems and then putting it all together,” explained Wood in the Harvard news release. “This research demonstrates that we can easily manufacture the key components of a simple, entirely soft robot, which lays the foundation for more complex designs.”

By Devin Coldewey | TechCrunch

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About Peter Coffaro 1431 Articles
A growth-driven and strategic executive, Peter Coffaro commands more than 20 years of progressive management success within the medical device industry. As a District Sales Manager for Stryker Orthopaedics, Peter was responsible for managing and directing a regional sales force to achieve sales and profit goals within the Rocky Mountain region. Previously, he was the Director of Sales & Marketing for Amp Orthopedics. In this role, Peter was responsible for planning, developing, and leading all sales and marketing initiatives. Peter is a former orthopedic distributor in the Pacific Northwest. He has also worked with DePuy Orthopaedics as well as Zimmer, and held positions in sales, sales training, and sales management. Peter has an extensive background in organizational development, business development, sales management, negotiating and P&L management. Peter holds a B.S. degree in Biology from Northern Illinois University.

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