Simpler, air-powered soft robots could help with space exploration

Soft robots promise a kinder, gentler approach to automation, but they’re frequently hamstrung by complexity, costs and the need for wires. Thankfully, Harvard researchers have found a way to simplify matters. They’ve developed a softrobot driven by pressurized air that doesn’t need the multiple control systems that frequently guide these machines. A lone input pumps air to the robot’s legs through tubes of different sizes, which determines how those legs behave. If you want the robot to crawl forward, you just have to send air through the right set of tubes.

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