MIT aren’t the only ones taking inspiration from aquatic life for cutting edge designs in soft robotics. A Brooklyn based company called Super-Releaser has designed a new mobile robot called the Glaucus that “walks” without housing any hard mechanical parts.
As you can see, by controlling which chambers inside the Glaucus inflate, the bot can slowly drag its chubby little body along a flat surface. “It is similar to how a salamander walks, by balancing itself on a pair of legs diagonal from one another while moving the opposite pair forward,” says creator Matthew Borgatti.
The Glaucus isn’t setting any speed records. Even the clip in which it is just barely moving forward is sped up 10x. But that’s no secret to the creators – in fact the creation is named “Glaucus” after a genus of sea slugs, critters which aren’t known for their speed. And besides, quickness and agility aren’t really the goal here. The goal is to show how concepts as simple as the inflation and deflation of alternating chambers can create movements similar to those found in nature.
The video shows how this technology could be used to regain the range of a certain joints or adjust to a new prosthetic. Can you think of any other practical applications of this design? Do you agree that this thing would make the most stimulating dog toy imaginable?