Soft Robotics Cheetah Robot
Researchers, inspired by the biomechanics of cheetahs, have invented a new type of soft robotics capable of moving more quickly than previous generations on solid surfaces or in the water. Previous soft robots could move at 0.8 body lengths per second on flat, solid surfaces, but this new class of soft robots, which are called “Leveraging Elastic instabilities for Amplified Performance” (LEAP), are able to reach speeds of up to 2.7 body lengths per second at a low actuation frequency of 3Hz. Read more for a video and additional information.



They are also capable of running up steep inclines, which can be challenging or impossible for soft robotics that exert less force against the ground. The LEAP design could also improve swimming speeds for soft robots, as they attached a fin to one and it was able to swim at a speed of 0.78 body lengths per second, as compared to 0.7 body lengths per second for the previous fastest swimming soft robot.

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We can switch between these stable states rapidly by pumping air into channels that line the soft, silicone robot. Switching between the two states releases a significant amount of energy, allowing the robot to quickly exert force against the ground. This enables the robot to gallop across the surface, meaning that its feet leave the ground,” said Dr. Jie Yin, assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at North Carolina State University.