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Oct 5, 2022

Fluidic circuits add analog options for controlling soft robots

Posted by in categories: materials, robotics/AI

Add analog and air-driven to the list of control system options for soft robots.

In a study published online this week, robotics researchers, engineers and materials scientists from Rice University and Harvard University showed it is possible to make programmable, nonelectronic circuits that control the actions of by processing information encoded in bursts of compressed air.

“Part of the beauty of this system is that we’re really able to reduce computation down to its base components,” said Rice undergraduate Colter Decker, lead author of the study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. He said electronic control systems have been honed and refined for decades, and recreating computer circuitry “with analogs to pressure and flow rate instead of voltage and current” made it easier to incorporate pneumatic computation.

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