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 you actuate the soft robot, it changes how you use the material properties. A piece of rubber going from flat to the shape of a finger, it changes the material into something else,” said NASA intern Jack Fitzpatrick. Read more for another video and additional information.
“The design is not quite complete as of yet, and definitely not space-ready, but they are trying to test and see how these actuators could be used in a real space mission. They are trying to determine 4 key properties namely, mobility, joining, leveling and shaping. As mentioned, 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,” reports Science Times.