Eating, Drinking, Living, Dying and Decaying Soft Robots
Soft robotics opens up a whole range of possibilities that go far beyond conventional rigid and electromagnetic robotics. New smart materials and new design and modelling methodologies mean we can start to replicate the operations and functionalities of biological organisms, most of which exploit softness as a critical component. These range from mechanical responses, actuation principles and sensing capabilities. Additionally, the homeostatic operations of organisms can be exploited in their robotic counterparts. We can, in effect, start to make robotic organisms, rather than just robots. Important new capabilities include the fabrication of robots from soft bio-polymers, the ability to drive the robot from bio-energy scavenged from the environment, and the degradation of the robot at the end of its life. The robot organism therefore becomes an entity that lives, dies, and decays in the environment, just like biological organisms. In this chapter we will examine how soft robotics have the potential to impact upon pressing environmental pollution, protection and remediation concerns.
KeywordsNatural Rubber Microbial Fuel Cell Biological Organism Soft Robot Lithium Polymer Battery
Jonathan Rossiter is EPSRC Research Fellow and is funded by EPSRC research grants EP/M020460/1 and EP/M026388/1 and the FP7 Coordination Action on Soft Robotics, RoboSoft.
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