Robots are used for all sorts of different tasks including exploring areas where it is too hazardous for humans to venture due to war or disaster. The problem with many of the robot designs is that wheels and legs can have hard time navigating very rough terrain. To help make robots that are better able to navigate certain types of terrain and are more resistant to bumps and impacts a new bot has debuted that is made from soft materials and resembles a starfish.
The bot is made from a soft and flexible rubber material and is driven by compressed air. The compressed air is fed into little bladders inside the rather creepy looking clear body and that air moving in and out of bladders allows the bot to move. The design of the bot allows it to move under objects that normal robots would have no chance of making it under.
According to the designers, the bot can move under a pane of glass that is only 2cm above the ground in under a minute. There are some downsides to the soft robot design though. The soft bot is less resistant to punctures from thorns and cuts from broken glass. Any puncture would allow the air to escape and could leave the bot stranded.
[via BBC News]