Robot sponge. Credit: Tianqi Yue
A simple sponge has improved how robots grasp, scientists from the University of Bristol have found.
This easy-to-make sponge-jamming device can help stiff robots handle delicate items carefully by mimicking the nuanced touch, or variable stiffness, of a human.
Robots can skip, jump and do somersaults, but they’re too rigid to hold an egg easily. Variable-stiffness devices are potential solutions for contact compliance on hard robots to reduce damage, or for improving the load capacity of soft robots.
This study, published at the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) 2023, shows that variable stiffness …