Soulskill from the not-that-lab-but-the-other-lab dept.
HizookRobotics writes "Inflatable robots have the potential to be low-cost, lightweight, extremely powerful, and yet 'human safe' — in other words, perfect for many robotics applications. Here are two new examples: a 15-foot-long walking robot (a Pneubot named Ant-Roach) and a complete, inflatable robot arm (plus hand). Both of these robots were developed by Otherlab as part of their 'pneubotics' project (in collaboration with Meka Robotics and Manu Prakash at Stanford University), with some funding from DARPA's Maximum Mobility and Manipulation program. These robots use textile-based, inflatable actuators that contract upon inflation into specially-designed shapes to effect motion. Since these robots are built out of lightweight fabric-and-air structural members and powered via pneumatics or hydraulics, they exhibit large strength-to-weight ratios. For example, Ant-Roach is less than 70 lbs and can probably support up to 1000 lbs; the inflatable robot arm is less than 2 lbs and can lift a few hundred pounds at 50-60 psi."
We will have solar energy as soon as the utility companies solve one technical
problem -- how to run a sunbeam through a meter.