The Glaucus has Arrived!

After many many revisions, experiments, and prototypes, we're pleased to announce that our newest robot, a quadruped with no hard moving parts that walks using only two input lines, is complete.

It's called the Glaucus, after the blue sea slug Glaucus Atlanticus. It has hollow interior chambers that interdigitate with one another. When either of these chambers is pressurized it deforms and bends the structure of the robot. This bending produces the walking motion. It is similar to how a salamander walks, by balancing itself on one pair of legs diagonal from one another while moving the opposite pair forward.

The Glaucus is a proof of concept for a method developed here that can reproduce nearly any geometry modeled on the computer as a seamless silicone skin. We hopes to apply these same techniques to practical problems in medicine and engineering as the technology develops. For starters, we hope to apply it directly to the orthotic cuffs and prosthetic sleeves we've been developing in parallel with the Glaucus project.

This is an open source project, and we encourage you to download the source files and make your own Glaucus. You can find all the 3d print downloads on Thingiverse, a tutorial on the process on Adafruit, and photos of the process on Flickr.

If you have any questions about this project or how to begin making your own soft robots, take a look at our forum, where we'd be happy to answer questions in detail.

Matthew Borgatti