Review Article | Published:

Design, fabrication and control of soft robots

Nature volume 521, pages 467475 (28 May 2015) | Download Citation

Abstract

Conventionally, engineers have employed rigid materials to fabricate precise, predictable robotic systems, which are easily modelled as rigid members connected at discrete joints. Natural systems, however, often match or exceed the performance of robotic systems with deformable bodies. Cephalopods, for example, achieve amazing feats of manipulation and locomotion without a skeleton; even vertebrates such as humans achieve dynamic gaits by storing elastic energy in their compliant bones and soft tissues. Inspired by nature, engineers have begun to explore the design and control of soft-bodied robots composed of compliant materials. This Review discusses recent developments in the emerging field of soft robotics.

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Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank A. Marchese and R. Katzschmann for their insightful comments and suggestions in editing this paper. This work was done with partial support from the National Science Foundation grant number IIS-1226883, for which we are grateful.

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Affiliations

  1. Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, The Stata Center, Building 32, 32 Vassar Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA.

    • Daniela Rus
  2. Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, California 92093-0403.

    • Michael T. Tolley

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Correspondence to Daniela Rus.

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