Harvard University researchers built what they describe as the world’s first completely soft robot. The device looks like an octopus and is appropriately named Octobot. Though it resembles a toy, the core technology within it may one day be used for medical applications such as minimally invasive surgery and imaging of the GI tract.
To overcome the limitations of commonly used technologies, such as rigid batteries and other electronics, the team harnessed more exotic methods to build the Octobot. Instead of a battery, the robot uses a chemical reaction fueled by hydrogen peroxide to power its movement, which happens inside a 3D printed network made of a composition of different materials. Replacing traditional electronics is a microfluidic logic system that self-controls the release of the hydrogen peroxide and so how fast the robot moves.
Here’s a Harvard video showing off the Octobot: