3D Printed robots have been growing in popularity very quickly over the past decade. These extraordinary machines with equally extraordinary features are helping people to create useful, eco-friendly, and affordable items.
Each robot that is created with 3D printing technology is incredibly complex and is created to do specific tasks and make specific types of items using specific materials. As advancements continue to develop, these robots are able to do more and more extraordinary tasks. It is entirely feasible that within the next decade, these robots will be created to complete twice as many tasks as they are currently able to do today.
3D Printed Octopus Robot from Harvard
This 3D printed octopus robot from Harvard is the first robot that is completely autonomous, fully untethered, and entirely soft in texture. It is a 3D printed robot, called the octobot, that is created by expert Harvard University researchers that have exceptional understanding in the areas of 3D printing, mechanical engineering, and microfluidics. The functional components within the 3D printed soft robot body include: the fuel storage, the power, and the actuation required to carry out the duties required of the octobot.
The design of the soft body 3D printed robot is modeled after the octopus. The octopus is an extraordinary creature that is very strong and has incredible dexterity despite having no internal skeleton. The octobot is powered pneumatically, meaning that it powered by an internal gas that is released under pressure. The robot transforms a very small amount of hydrogen peroxide into an extraordinary amount of gas that is used to inflate the arms of the octobot.
Little else is currently known about the Octobot. This soft bodied 3D printed robot is currently under experimentation and is being run through trials. Updates can be expected as the robot continues to develop.
3D Printed Robot with Shock Absorbing Skin
The 3D printed robot with shock absorbing skin is made with programmable viscoelastic material from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. This particular material is created to allow users to control each and every aspect of a 3D printed object. These aspects and features include, but are not limited to: exact levels of stiffness and exact levels of elasticity.
Because these 3D printed robots are soft, they are expected to be able to perform actions more precisely than traditional 3D printed robots. The precision of movement and dexterity would help to increase the life and durability of drones, phones, shoes, helmets, and other everyday items. The skin on this robot allow the robot to absorb shock much more efficiently than other 3D printed robots. The skin also allows the robot to land four times more precisely than previous models and could be used to improve the life and precision of other robots currently sold by Amazon and Google.
Each of these 3D Printed robots with shock absorbing skins are extraordinary because they are created using conventional 3D printing techniques and technologies. The team of producers used a standard 3D printer, and a material called TangoBlack+ which is composed of a solid, a liquid, and flexible rubber components. Combined, these materials make up both the cube-like body of the robot and the skins that are used to improve the robot. The process involves depositing drops of material in layers, and then using UV light to solidify the non-liquids.
In its entirety, this 3D robot is comprised of a rigid body, a battery, a microcontroller, a looped metal strip, two motors, and inertial measurement unit sensors.