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Jun 22, 2022

A universal approach to tailoring soft robots

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, biological, robotics/AI

By combining two distinct approaches into an integrated workflow, Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) researchers have developed a novel automated process for designing and fabricating customized soft robots. Their method, published in Advanced Materials Technologies, can be applied to other kinds of soft robots—allowing their mechanical properties to be tailored in an accessible manner.

Though robots are often depicted as stiff, metallic structures, an emerging class of pliable machines known as is rapidly gaining traction. Inspired by the flexible forms of living organisms, soft robots have wide applications in sensing, movement, object grasping and manipulation, among others. Yet, such robots are still mostly fabricated through manual casting techniques—limiting the complexity and geometries that can be achieved.

“Most fabrication approaches are predominantly manual due to a lack of standard tools,” said SUTD Assistant Professor Pablo Valdivia y Alvarado, who led the study. “But 3D printing or additive manufacturing is slowly coming into play as it facilitates repeatability and allows more complex designs—improving quality and performance.”

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Comments so far


  1. I’ve never seen anything like that before and the fact that it’s being presented by Neil Patrick Harris shows that it’s a good deal and could turn into something in the future.

  2. This technology lends itself well with 3D printing, at least for prototyping. There are now numerous soft and flexible materials as well that may be able to help with the realism.

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