Soft robots can now be controlled by a computer with an air-powered memory.
Engineers from UC Riverside developed an air-powered memory that could be used to control soft robotics. This innovation eliminates one of soft robotics’ biggest obstacles: the mismatch between electronics and pneumatics. The open-access journal PLOS One published the work.
The pneumatic soft robots are superior in performing delicate tasks to rigid robots because they use pressurized compressed air to move the soft, rubbery limbs. These robots are safer to have around humans. Baymax, the healthcare robot companion in the 2014 Disney animated film Big Hero 6 is a pneumatic robotic for good reason.
Existing systems of pneumatic soft robotics use electronic valves, computers and other devices to keep the robot’s moving components in place. Soft robots are limited by the size, power, and cost of these electronic components.