In Langley’s makerspace lab, Chuck Sullivan and Jack Fitzpatrick are developing a series of soft robot actuators. “What we’re investigating is the viability of soft robotics in space exploration and assembly,” said Sullivan.
While the word ‘robot’ conjures images of metal arms and gears, soft robotic actuators are bioinspired, looking at the way nature works to create new robot movements. By being constructed from highly flexible materials, soft robots are able to move similarly to living organisms, allowing new ranges of motion that traditional robots simple can’t have. Space applications of these actuators can expand the role of robots in exploration and assembly.
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