Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Soft robots developed by Jacobs School engineers featured on SciShow

So Hank Green, brother of "Fault in Our Stars" and "Paper Towns" author John Green, just featured one of the robots designed by Jacobs School roboticist Michael Tolley. 

He developed with colleagues at Harvard the first robot with a 3D-printed body that transitions from a rigid core to a soft exterior. The robot made its debut in Science on July 10.

"We believe that bringing together soft and rigid materials will help create a new generation of fast, agile robots that are more robust and adaptable than their predecessors and can safely work side by side with humans,” Tolley said at the time in our press release
The idea of blending soft and hard materials into the robot’s body came from nature, Tolley said. For example, certain species of mussels have a foot that starts out soft and then becomes rigid at the point where it makes contact with rocks. “In nature, complexity has a very low cost,” Tolley said. “Using new manufacturing techniques like 3D printing, we’re trying to translate this to robotics.”

And indeed, Green featured the robot as part of a segment on biomimetics.
Enjoy the whole show, or fast-forward to the four-minute mark, where Green starts talking about Tolley's robot. 

Tolley and his students will be presenting some of their robotics work here on campus on October 30 at the Contextual Robotics Forum.  (UC San Diego alumni can register for half price.)

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