A deformable pump gives soft robots a ‘heart’ to mimic the biology of animals

A new deformable pump for soft robots consists of a silicone tube with coils of wire—known as solenoids—spaced around its exterior. Inside the tube is a solid core magnet that moves back and forth, much like a floating piston, to push fluids forward with continuous force. Credit: Cornell University

The Tin Man didn’t have one. The Grinch’s was three sizes too small. And for soft robots, the electronically powered pumps that function as their “hearts” are so bulky and rigid, they must be decoupled from the robot’s body—a separation that can leak energy and render the bots …

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