A soft robotic hand has finally achieved a historic accomplishment: beating the first level of Super Mario Bros. Although quickly pressing and releasing the buttons and directional pad on a Nintendo Entertainment System controller is a fun test of this three-fingered machine’s performance, the real breakthrough is not what it does—but how it was created.
The Mario-playing hand, as well as two turtlelike “soft robots” described in the same recent Science Advances paper, were each 3-D-printed in a single process that only took three to eight hours. “Every one of those robots in this paper was 100 percent no-assembly-required-printed,” says co-author Ryan Sochol, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Maryland.
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.