NASA researchers are currently experimenting with soft robotics that could one day help explore other worlds. These have a large advantage over their metal counterparts because they’re very flexible and much better in adapting to new environments, all the while offering a range of motion similar to living organisms, thus making it easier to manipulate in tight spots. When soft robots are actuated, it changes how you use the material properties. This means when a piece of rubber goes from flat to the shape of a finger, it changes the material into something else.
However, this design is not quite complete as of yet, and definitely not space-ready, but researchers are trying to test and see how these actuators could be used in a real space mission. There are 4 key properties that need to be determined: mobility, joining, leveling and shaping. As mentioned previously, the interns achieved these by a series of tubes attached to the unit that direct feed air into air bladders, and by adjusting the amount of air in the chamber, the robot can flex (compress) and relax (expand) much like a human muscle.
- This LEGO set for adults features the Space Shuttle Discovery and the Hubble Space Telescope from NASA’s 1990 STS-31 mission
- Space enthusiasts will love unlocking the mysteries of our solar system with this engaging 2,354-piece project, packed with authentic details
- The Space Shuttle has an opening payload bay, retractable landing gear, opening cockpit, moving elevons, space arm, plus 5 seats for the crew