ERJ staff report (DS)
Boston, Massachusetts - Researchers at Harvard University have
developed a soft, elastomeric structure which can walk. The secret is
the use of chambers within the structure.. As these chambers are
selectively inflated and deflated with a low-pressure fluid, the entity
can be seen to 'walk' along a surface.
The structure was created using a rapid prototyping machine which
can create a 3-dimensional print of a design in an elastomeric
material. In this case, the researchers used an ABS over a silicone
elastomer structure. The silicone rubber was provided by Smooth-On
under the name of Ecoflex 00-30.
It comprises four legs and five valves which permit fluid such as
water to inflate and deflate different chambers within the device.
Depending on the sequence, the device can walk with different gaits,
either with two legs operating in pairs or four legs each operating
The device is around 136mm long by 60mm wide and the Ecoflex layer is around 5.3mm deep.
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Abstract in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Links to videos of device (No 4 is the most fun
Supplemental information (Describes construction and gives details of materials used)